River Cleanups & Volunteers – The Need Continues

By: Lynne Hart

A Huge Thank You!

On Saturday, February 24, a wonderful thing happened. The most wonderful part is that it happened without KALB initiating the event.

KALB received a call from Richard Lax, a Tanner resident who is deeply concerned about the litter he has seen in the Swan Creek Wildlife Management Area.

He didn’t just complain about it, and he didn’t call KALB and suggest we clean it up. Mr. Lax took it upon himself to work with David Whiteside and Tennessee Riverkeepers to organize a cleanup.

KALB happily provided trash bags, gloves, litter grabbers, and hand sanitizer for the volunteers. We also made contact with Jason Black, Limestone County Commissioner for the area, to ask for his help in picking up the trash bags and other debris after the cleanup. Mr. Black was pleased to help.

About 30 volunteers arrived ready to work. At the end of the day, 2,100 lbs. of trash and debris were removed from the area, including 16 tires and 2 mattresses. That weight did not include all the materials sorted out by volunteers so they could be recycled.

Thank you, Richard Lax, for being a wonderful example to our community.

The Swan Creek Wildlife Management Area on the Tennessee River in Limestone County is part of the Alabama Birding Trails and home to waterfowl, small game, and mudflats covered with shorebirds. This is a beautiful area of our county worthy of the cleanup received.

Elk River Canoe & Kayak Trail Cleanup – March 10th
If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit Limestone County’s section of the Elk River, you are missing out on one of our greatest treasures. You don’t have to travel by canoe or kayak to enjoy the beauty of the river, although it is a great way to do it. You can also find many places along its banks to take in the peaceful beauty it offers.

There are a variety of opportunities for recreation at the river, including fishing, swimming, boating, camping, bird watching, and so much more. Even those who are not interested in these activities benefit from the Elk River. Fourteen million gallons of water per day are taken from the Elk River, purified, and sent to our homes and businesses. That alone is a good reason for us to strive to keep our river clean!

Environmental awareness has increased; however, some people continue to use our river as a dumping ground for unwanted items, such as tires, television sets, furniture, appliances and more. Plastic is the material found most often in U.S. waterways. Plastics can be extremely hazardous to wildlife causing internal organ failure if ingested, or slow strangulation.

Volunteers are invited to meet up at the Hatchery Rd. boat launch area (off Hwy. 99 in West Limestone) at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 10. KALB, TVA, and WOW! Cable Internet and Phone will provide supplies. After instructions are given, a group photo will be taken and volunteers will disburse to several areas around the river.

Participants are advised to wear appropriate clothing, including sturdy shoes or boots. Boats, canoes, and kayaks are welcome. This year, we have a supply of net bags that work well when working from the water. It never hurts to have a rake or other handy tool to reach and remove difficult debris; so bring them along if you can.

Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult and provide a Hold Harmless Agreement signed by a parent or legal guardian. A link to the form can be found at www.kalbcares.com/elk-river-canoe-kayak-trail-cleanup/. Forms will also be available the day of the cleanup.

Lunch will be provided at noon and all registered volunteers will be included in a drawing for prizes.

Last year, more than 50 volunteers removed 7,380 lbs. of trash and debris from the river and surrounding land areas. Some items found included tires, television sets, mattresses, carpet, broken glass, and bags of trash.

I cannot understand the mentality of people who purposely trash our beautiful county, or any other location for that matter. What I do know is that, over the years, more and more people are joining in the effort to make things better. Attitudes are changing. For those of us who already get it, let’s just keep doing the next right thing.

KALB would like to hear from you if you plan to join our river cleanup. Just send us a quick email and tell us how many plan to join you, so we can have adequate supplies. If you decide to come at the last minute, just COME! Everyone will be welcomed!

Thank you to all the wonderful people of Limestone County who are taking a stand and making things better in so many ways. You are our heroes!
By: Lynne Hart