On Saturday, September 23rd, 2017, over 80 volunteers from 10 different counties came out to pick up trash along the Satilla River. Each year the Satilla Riverkeeper hosts this watershed-wide event to target the chronic trash problem at popular river access points. More than 3,000 pounds of trash was collected at eight sites from the headwaters in Douglas to Jekyll Island, where the Satilla River reaches the Atlantic Ocean.
“Trash isn’t just an eyesore at local access points to the river, it can contaminate water quality overtime. Our annual cleanup is an opportunity to raise awareness and engage our communities in remedying this issue, and look for ways to prevent the trash from ending up there in the first place,” said Rachael Thompson, Watershed Outreach Coordinator, Satilla Riverkeeper.
Although some of the originally planned cleanup sites were inaccessible due to high water, volunteers still made a huge impact.
In Coffee County, Seven Rivers Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) and South Georgia Regional Commission hosted the clean-up on Otter Creek, a Tributary of the Seventeen Mile River, which meets the Satilla River northwest of Waycross. Seven volunteers helped remove over a dozen bags of trash weighing almost 100 lbs. “We weren’t finding very much trash until we went under the bridge. There we found fishing bait containers, diapers, and a whole bunch of plastic bottles (47) and aluminum cans (52)” said Eugene Dyal, Program Manager for Seven Rivers RC&D.
This volunteer effort was conducted in partnership with Rivers Alive, Georgia's annual volunteer waterway cleanup event that targets all waterways in the state including streams, rivers, lakes, beaches, and wetlands. The mission of Rivers Alive is to create awareness of and involvement in the preservation of Georgia's water resources.
“Organizational partnerships are extremely important because they enlarge geographic service areas, engage new volunteers and combine forces creating a more impactful stewardship activity and experience,“ said Lea King-Badyna, Executive Director, Keep Golden Isles Beautiful.
Satilla Riverkeeper would like to thank the following community partners that contributed to our efforts and helped make this event a success: Waterkeeper Alliance, Ocean Conservancy, American Rivers, Twin Oaks Bluegrass Park, Republic Services, Glynn County, Hog N' Bones, Walmart Supercenter - Brunswick, Walgreens - Brunswick (Torras Causeway), Douglas Lowe's Home Improvement, Lee Hardware, South Georgia Regional Commission, Seven Rivers RC&D, Earth Inspired Kids, Friends of the Satilla River, Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, Keep Brantly Beautiful and Litter Free, Georgia Sea Turtle Center, Keep Golden Isles Beautiful, and the Satilla River Water Trail, Ace Pole Company, Inc., Yarbrough’s Printing, Logistec.
Satilla Riverkeeper is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 2004 whose mission is to protect, restore and educate about the unique and beautiful black-water Satilla River. To learn more, visit www.satillariverkeeper.org.
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