5th Annual Rubber Ducky Race Set for Today

The Mill Creek Coalition of Clarion and Jefferson Counties is holding its 5th annual rubber ducky race which starts at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 5th at the Fisher-Strattanville Road bridge over Mill Creek.

The purpose of this race is to help raise funds and awareness of efforts to clean up acid mine drainage pollution in the Mill Creek and Little Mill Creek watersheds.

Raffle tickets, one for each of 600 numbered little yellow ducks, will be sold and the ticket holders of the winning ducks will receive Walmart gift cards totaling $1000. Other gifts provided by local merchants will be raffled off to those attending the race.

Event organizer Pete Dalby said the ducks will be released a few hundred yards upstream of the bridge. Volunteers will follow them down the creek to free any ducks hung up on snags or shallow water. More volunteers will be posted with nets at the bridge finish line.

Prior to the race, youngsters from 5-15 years of age are invited to participate in a pre-race event with each individual providing their own personalized ducky (all sizes, shapes and colors, no inflatables). There is a one-dollar registration fee. A certificate of participation will be provided to each youngster. The purpose of this event is to encourage this younger generation to invest into the long term restoration efforts of Mill Creek.

Mill Creek and Little Mill Creek were essentially dead 27 years ago when the coalition began working to use passive treatment systems to clean up the low pH, acidity, and the high levels of iron, manganese and aluminum from the whole watershed.

The waterways have visually improved as the bright orange iron deposits coating the stream beds have been reduced. Aquatic life has returned. Trout and other species of fish have been found throughout most of Mill Creek and Little Mill Creek, along with aquatic insects, crayfish and amphibians.

However, Jones Run and Douglass Run, which enter Mill Creek below its confluence with Little Mill Creek, are still badly polluted. They will soon be the targets of current coalition projects to improve the last six miles of Mill Creek flowing toward the Clarion River.

Hot dogs, potato chips and drinks will be available at the event. There also will be displays describing the passive treatment process of addressing acid mine drainage and the locations of treatment sites.

Parking is available near the bridge and traffic control will be in effect.

Unsold raffle tickets may be available at the event.

The Clarion University student chapter of The Wildlife Society is helping the coalition sponsor the event, along with Walmart and its participating employees.

A rain date, if necessary will be Saturday, May 12th.

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