MONTGOMERY, WV (WOWK)—Clean creeks and streams are something some people may take for granted, but, after they noticed their childhood play area was polluted and that all of the aquatic life in it was gone, a group of neighbors decided to do something. Morris Creek holds many memories for Morris Creek Watershed Association member Eddie Grey and some of his neighbors.

“Myself as well as a few others we grew up here,” he said. “So as a kid, like many kids, we played in the creek and caught crawdads and minnows and stuff like that for fishing.”

But as adults, they noticed the cool water they once loved wasn’t the same.

“Over the years the water had become very degraded due to abandoned mine land,” Grey explained.

So they started the Morris Creek Watershed Association. Since 2003 they’ve worked to create passive treatment facilities using limestone to make the water clean enough to support aquatic life once again. The initial process took about five years.

“Not only myself but many others, we enjoyed that as a kid and wanted to be able to see our kids and grandkids enjoy it.”

There are now three species of trout living in the creek including brook, rainbow and brown. They even involve local students in raising the trout and let them release the fish into the water. Members of the group are hoping educational programs in the community will help pass along their love of nature.

“You know as we get older and retire from doing this, myself and members hope that kids will take it over and continue this project,” Grey said.

The next big move is a grant-funded effort to put up new signage and other features to encourage people to get out and be active while enjoying the creek.

“It has been very rewarding to us to see a stream returned back to a healthy status where kids can get in the water and play,” he said.

Grey said they also take part in solid waste clean-up events every year. He said he thinks inviting the community to help with that effort has renewed the sense of pride in keeping the entire area clean.