River Cleanup by Current Problems


Fritzi Olson has written a piece today in the Gainesville Sun outlining the yearly cleanup of the Suwannee River basin, which included the Santa Fe River and this year even more.  On-going for five years, your participation will be appreciated.  Read about it here or continue for more informationScroll

Fritzi Olson: Cleanup is important for water quality and wildlife

 By Fritzi Olson

Each registered group adopts a section of a waterway and conducts their cleanup as they see fit. We feel local residents know their river sections well and how best to approach them. Current Problems will supply bags, grabbers, nets and rakes, scales for weighing trash, and gifts for the volunteers. If wanted, we can also provide a sheet of suggested instructions.

After completion, groups return borrowed supplies and send their cleanup results to Current Problems. We then send those statistics to be included in the tallies of American Rivers’ National River Cleanup and The Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup. We are happy to be able to contribute to these two fine efforts.

This year we are again encouraging work on the Suwannee River and its tributaries — the Santa Fe, Ichetucknee, Withlacoochee or Alapaha. We are also adding Shired Island along the Gulf Coast to the list of sites. If there proves to be enough interest, we may add Pine Island. Being alerted to the accumulation of plastic trash on the islands along the coast, a pilot project on Little Pine Island was organized last spring. The success of the Little Pine cleanup convinced us it was worth pursuing another island for our 2015 Great Suwannee River Basin Cleanup.

Cleaning the waterways and the beaches is important for water quality and wildlife, both freshwater and saltwater. We have all seen the horrible pictures of aquatic animals entangled in nets and plastic bags, six-pack holders and balloons, as well as the dead birds with stomachs full of trash. In our karst terrain, trash and invisible substances such as pesticides and fertilizers can also affect our aquifer and springs, which then feed the streams and eventually the ocean. The connection between our surface activities and the water is substantial.

Over five years now, the Great Suwannee River Basin Cleanup totals are approaching 100,000 pounds of trash removed from the basin’s waterways. Our goal this year is to surpass that mark. We can achieve this if lots of people get involved and join in the effort. At the end of the season, we will have a wrap-up party to celebrate our accomplishments with all volunteers.

Registration is easy. Go to Current Problems website, www.currentproblems.org , click on the “Cleaning Up the Suwannee River Basin” logo. This will take you to more information, a link to a spreadsheet of river sections, and also a registration form to complete for your group at the bottom of the page. Groups choose their own date within a roughly three-month window from September through the second week in December.

If you are not able to register online or want to discuss your proposed cleanup, please call me at 352-215-7554 or e-mail me at aar@currentproblems.org. Register any time now. You’ll have a larger selection of sections if you register early.

We hope you will join us in cleaning up our beautiful Suwannee River Basin!

Fritzi Olson is executive director of Current Problems.

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