General Activities

Annual Cabin John Creek Cleanup

Every Spring at the end of April, FOCJC conducts a cleanup of the Creek and its tributaries. This cleanup first started in Cabin John in 1996 and gets larger each year. Our hope is to enlist communities and businesses to clean up that portion of a waterway in the Cabin John Watershed nearest them so that at some point in the future, every waterway will get the beauty treatment once a year. The County M-NCPPC assists by providing gloves and trash bags and picks up the trash once we are done. Contact Burr Gray at if you are interested in organizing a cleanup at a particular location. If you want to be simply a worker bee, check our list of sites and contact the Team Leader for the site nearest you. While the Creek is no worse than other urban streams, the County advised in an August 1999 letter that residents should (1) avoid total body immersion (this means no swimming), (2) avoid swallowing of water, and (3) wash hands and shower when water contact from wading does take place. During the period of 99-02, there were two accidental sanitary sewer discharges into the Creek, so you never know for certain how clean the water might be from day to day.

Children under 14 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Community service credits are available. Bring your own gloves if you have them. Trash bags and refreshments provided. Wear long pants and a hat, and shoes that can get wet if necessary. Dress warmly in layers and bring drinking water. If the water is high, stay out of the stream channel! Use the buddy system - work in pairs. Be careful when picking up trash. Don't put your hands where you can't see them as stream undercuts and reaching under logs and stones can be dangerous. If you find a syringe, don't pick it up - notify your Team Leader.

Quarterly Monitoring of Cabin John Creek and Tributaries

Note: After 6 full years, FOCJC's monitoring program is currently inactive.

[Inactive] Schedule: Monitoring one day during the first 3 full weekends of the month in May, July, Sept and optional Dec-Feb. We have training sessions once or twice a year for new monitors, but the knowledge can be picked up relatively easily during the sessions themselves.

Data collected by the monitoring program was used to evaluate the health of the Creek and to determine whether the County's stormwater runoff control program is working. Much of the adverse impacts on local streams comes from stormwater runoff.

Powerpoint Presentation on FOCJC Monitoring Program, presented by Roy Seidenstein at the October 27, 2007 Montgomery County Watershed Conference.

Monitoring Data Tables

Monitoring Site Map

For details, contact

WSSC Projects in the Creek Watershed

We work with WSSC to determine its approach to dealing with locations in the Creek where the sewer pipe has become exposed to the elements as a result of erosion by the Creek. There are numerous instances along the Creek where the sanitary sewer can be seen. We work with WSSC to evaluate whether there are alternate sites where a sanitary sewer could be placed, and if not feasible, what sorts of restoration programs exists that will minimize the impact of any WSSC repairs to the sewer. Contact Glenn Patterson at to participate in this FOCJC project.

DEP Stormwater and Creek Restoration Effort

The County is in the midst of an effort to address impacts of stormwater runoff on County streams. FOCJC members meet with the County periodically to be updated on these efforts. Data collected in the Monitoring Program is used to determine the impact that the County's efforts are having on downstream macro-invertebrate population. The FOCJC Restoration Coordinator is Eric Strassler at

Cabin John Creek Weed Warriors Program

FOCJC sponsors Weed Warrior training sessions in Cabin John. Participants are trained in identifying and removing vines and plants considered invasive, alien, and destructive. Alien invasive weeds can harm native ecosystems including our streams and trees. Trainees receive a certification that allows and encourages them to identify, remove and control these weeds on their own. FOCJC would like to build a Cabin John Creek group that would identify and deal with any invasive alien vines that kill the trees and other plants along the Creek and its tributaries. Our most recent training was given by Carole Bergmann, Forest Ecologist for Park & Planning, who runs the overall Weed Warrior program. To become trained as a Weed Warrior with the emphasis on the Cabin John Watershed, contact Lorna Patrick at