More people, more boats and one-third less trash than the 2013 event collected!
It was an absolutely beautiful Saturday on October 4th, when more than 1,000 volunteers scoured the shoreline, creeks and coves of Lake Wylie and collected a total of five and one-half dumpsters of trash and debris – about one-third less than last year. Volunteers and boat captains alike commented on how clean the shoreline appeared as compared to past years.
The haul collected by sixty-one boats (a 22% increase in watercraft over 2013) included 109 tires, 21 lawn chairs, 82 heavy Styrofoam® blocks from boat docks, 646 bags of trash and 73 bags of recyclables; plus, there was the usual array of oddities such as a snowboard, a snow sled, 2 boogie boards, a hobby horse and a wrought iron table with 5 matching chairs!
“Though it's disheartening to see what people throw in the lake, the good news is that the amount of trash collected is down, by almost one-third, from what was hauled in last year,” said Neil Brennan, co-chair of the Riversweep Planning Group and a Lake Wylie Marine Commissioner.
“Maybe the message, ‘Stow it, don't throw it,’ is getting through to people who use and enjoy the lake,” said Brennan, who is seeing the positive effect boaters, fishermen and residents can have on a body of water they care about.
In the early morning light, volunteers gathered at fourteen locations around the lake to pick up trash, litter, junk and debris from the shoreline. Many went aboard one of more than sixty boats enlisted to transport participants to clean up areas on the lake and haul collected trash to one of twelve dumpsters provided by the local counties.
This year, for the first time the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation and the National Whitewater Center provided kayaks to volunteers at several locations. Kayaks have always served an important role during Riversweep by allowing volunteers to paddle in and clean up shallow coves and waterways that are unreachable by boat.
At the Seven Oaks bridge volunteer site, fifteen high school students from Walnut Grove Christian School in Fort Mill, SC, collected twenty-two bags of trash, several tires, various plastic toys, lots of softballs and one very large Styrofoam® dock float from Catawba Creek on Lake Wylie.
The Riversweep message was delivered through broadcast, print, web and social media, and made possible by the generous support of long-time partners, business and philanthropic donors and new sponsors. Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation and Lake Wylie Marine Commission partnered with PalmettoPride, Lake Wylie Rotary Club Foundation, Charlotte Ski Boats, York County Hospitality Tax Foundation and York County Keep America Beautiful.
“All of the volunteers who lend their time and energy to this annual event appreciate the support of our partners, donors and sponsors,” said Ellen Goff, co-chair of the Riversweep Planning Group and board member of Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation. “We are profoundly grateful for their contributions,” said Goff.
“Riversweep is making a difference because of the support from our volunteers,” said CD Collins, Riversweep Planning Group member and one of the original organizers of the clean up. “We are so fortunate to have people who return year after year to continue this important work. Together, we're making progress toward a litter-free Lake Wylie,” said Collins.
The Belmont volunteer site at Dale’s Landing was manned by The "Raider Navy," Naval ROTC cadets from South Point High School.
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