Tuesday, March 24, 2015

River Cleanups - Are You Going to Participate?

Since moving out to the Fraser Valley we have become very involved in our local river cleanup community. Illegal dumping is a huge issue in the Fraser Valley and unfortunately, in many other municipalities. It's difficult to understand "why" people would do this and "how" to fix it so we do our part by helping to cleanup, educate and "bring back more than we go out with". I am a Director with the Chilliwack Vedder River Cleanup Society and my husband, Mark maintains their website and data.

The first community cleanup we attended this year was run by the Fraser Valley Salmon Society (FVSS) and generously supported by Dean (Werk) and his crew at Great River Fishing Adventures. The FVSS is a non-profit society that ensures and advocates for the rights for all anglers in non-tidal waters and works with the Department of Fisheries & Oceans as co-managers in conservation and habitat protection. The FVSS is also heavily involved in the training and education of anglers and the public to sport fishing. Dean is President of FVSS, was born and raised close to the Fraser River and runs his business, Great River Fishing Adventures up and down the river. Please check them out.

Dedicated volunteers braving the miserable weather; collecting garbage on one of the gravels bars of the Fraser River.

The weather was less than ideal but we had approximately 20 like-minded folks come out to pick up garbage on the gravel bars and banks of the Fraser River. I was very fortunate to head out on one of Dean's boats with Aggie and her son, Chris - two, very active anglers and members of the FVSS. With the help of boats provided by Dean and others, we were able to access gravel bars and bring out a lot of garbage. We pick up everything from fast food packaging, clothing to abandoned campsites with tents, cooking gear and more.

View from the boat
While some of us were 'on the water' others headed to a notorious dumping spot at Old Orchard. This area is accessible by car/truck and we know this area well as we have used it as a 'take out' for our paddling trips. It is always a depressing mess and once again, a lot of garbage was collected.

Thanks to Great River Fishing Adventures for sharing their boats and fuel to get volunteers to the remote gravel bars.

If you care about keeping your local waterways clean, get involved with local organizations doing river cleanups or start your own. Here in the Fraser Valley and in Chilliwack specifically, we have a community full of people that are passionate about this issue and plenty of others who provide us with lots of garbage to pick up.
Volunteers enjoying the bbq hosted by Fraser Valley Salmon Society - thanks, Aggie!

Upcoming cleanups are as follows:

Saturday March 28th run by Fraser Riverkeepers and Woodtone - meet at Gill Road in Chilliwack at 10 am. Free BBQ for volunteers at 1pm. Please bring appropriate clothing and footwear - this event will go rain or shine.

Saturday April 18th run by Chilliwack Vedder River Cleanup Society - registration starts at 8:30 am at the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve at 5200 Sumas Prairie Rd, Chilliwack, BC. Refreshments generously provided by Tim Hortons and the Chilliwack Water StorePlease bring your refillable water bottles and coffee mugs as we want to discourage single use containers.

Green River, UT

Green River, UT
Photo: Shawna Franklin