Buriganga Riverkeeper, Sharif Jamil visits Hurricane Creek

posted Jun 18, 2013, 7:47 AM by John L. Wathen

Recently, I had the honor to host the Buriganga Riverkeeper, Sharif Jamil of Bangladesh, India and his friends Kamrul Ahbab Tipu, Syed Mushtaq, and Charles Depman of the Waterkeeper Alliance.

Charles is a Waterkeeper staff member traveling with the trio from Bangladesh across America to visit our country and other Waterkeeper watersheds. After our annual conference they planned to drive around the country to see America from the road before returning to India

The first stop was Hurricane Creek.

On arrival, we sat and talked a bit about the work I do in the watershed.  Sharif looked a bit puzzled and mentioned the downed trees surrounding my place so I took them to Watson’s Bend to tell the story of our disaster response to the tornado of April 27, 2011. All of the visitors seemed genuinely impressed with the recovery methods we employed to retrieve debris and trees from the creek. 

It was hard for them to grasp the total destruction to the canopy until we went to the park at the “M” Bend Park
off Hwy 216 to visit an unspoiled section of the creek.
I was pleased to find the new driveway was under construction and the crew had already installing the proper BMP’s to contain runoff. 
We spoke with Tuscaloosa County Park and RecreationAuthority (PARA) representative, Jay Strickland.
Jay was kind enough to talk to Sharif about the work and assured us that all BMPs were being employed. 
We all agreed that PARA is doing good work as good neighbors do.
McAbee Construction was onsite with new equipment to perform the work.
A big thanks is owed to Mr. Leroy McAbee for his constant support of our parks and community.

At the head of the new bike trail we found a new entrance that looked great.

                                                                                    Charles Depman, Kamrul Ahbab Tipu, Syed Mushtaq, Sharif Jamil
Along the trail we ran into Tammy Sawyer and Dawn Thompson Smith who’s son was one of the Boy Scouts who built the first trails.
They were out walking the recently created bike trail and were happy to stop for photos with Sharif and the group.
It was a pleasant surprise to happen up on people that had worked so hard to create the very trails we would be walking on.

On a bluff overlooking the creek, I pointed out a Mountain Mint plant and to my surprise they told me it was a plant they had in India as well. They explained to me that it was considered medicine and used as mosquito repellant, just as we do here. I told them of using it in tea, which they also do. It really brings new meaning to the term “small world”. Dr. E.O. Wilson once told me that we had one of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth so it came as no real surprise that we share some species.

                                                            We walked along the top trail to an overlook then headed back along the lower creek trail.

Everyone was happy to get out of the sun and back in the dense shade offered by the creek canopy. We paused to look at several of the rock formations along the trail. Sharif found some fossils of a tree embedded in a boulder and posed for a photo.

Sitting on the bench installed by the Scouts we had a long conversation about the similarities of our watersheds and the
pollution he and I both have to deal with in our respective watersheds, I am very happy to be here on Hurricane Creek, a stream in recovery.

One day I hope to go to Bangladesh to see the Buriganga River but for now,

I will support his mission from afar and continue to strive for improvement in our Hurricane Creek.

                                                                                                                               It’s what Waterkeepers do.