Sunday, April 13, 2008

Declaring War on the Peace River

It's time that war was declared on the Peace River. War against littering, that is. Mike and I took our kayaks to the Peace on Saturday and put in at the S.R. 60 launch in Bartow. The river is surprisingly high right now, but unfortunately, along with the increased water, the recent rains brought an excessive amount of litter with it. Both sides of the river around the S.R. 60 overpass are clogged with this (click on photos for enlarged images):

And this:
We kayaked south and within 5 minutes of paddling, we encountered this:

And this:
This mass of weeds and trash spanned the entire width of the river and made navigating through it impossible. Among the many items floating in the river was a cooler with the lid missing. I picked it out of the water and filled it with as much trash as it would hold. Sadly, I made hardly a dent in the trash pile. But Mike and I have determined to return to the Peace and do what we can to help clean up this hideous sight.
We can't do it alone, though. This trash will be no match for just two people. So I'm asking my greenies, my bunny-hugging, environment-loving readers, to join us in a clean-up on April 26.

I have not the first detail yet, but I will spend the next week planning this and making it happen. If you have a jon boat, a canoe or kayaks, we need you! If you don't have any of these, but are willing to pick up trash along the river banks, we need you! If you can't assist in a clean-up, but would like to come serve water and snacks to the volunteers, we need you! If you can't do any of the above on April 26, but want to help do what you can to make the ENTIRE Peace River look like this:

Please consider a tax-deductible donation to Keep Polk County Beautiful, which has been working to educate children and adults on the importance of litter prevention, waste reduction and recycling for more than 12 years. Additionally, they still mobilize volunteers for good, old-fashioned clean-ups. Your donations can help pay for clean-up supplies, as well as water and snacks for the volunteers.

Another way you can help in the litter-prevention effort is to do your part to put litter in its place each and every day. Teach your children and the children in your neighborhoods not to litter. If you see a piece of litter, pick it up! Every piece of litter that gets properly disposed of is a piece of litter that won't end up in our beautiful lakes and rivers. Please don't make me break into "This Land is Your Land." But, if it'll get you to join us in the clean-up, I might be persuaded to sing a verse of it or two!

So here's the deal: if you want to help, please e-mail me at I'll be in touch with more details later this week.


Anonymous said...

I've lived in Lakeland for 20 years on five acres. Saddle Creek flows through my property & from there to Lake Hancock eventualy to the Peace River.

During the past twenty years I have probably pulled at least a semi-truck load from the Creek. Add to that the years when my property was flooded & I could guess at least another semi-truck load. All trash exactly like your photo's show.

Two or three times a year I grab a garbage can & a roll of bags and a rake put them in my truck and clean my entire neighborhoods ditches.

I'm sorry I can't be there to help with your clean-up ! But I can promise you I'm doing all I can to keep it from flowing any further than my part of the creek.

S Chase said...

I'll help if I can - may have to work. How are you planning to do this? I have two small kayaks.

Lorrie said...

S Chase, Please e-mail me:

I'll send you more information when I have it, but so far, the City of Bartow is onboard to provide a dumpster for the trash and the PSCO Environmental Crimes Unit will have a deputy on scene the day of the cleanup to provide a safety briefing and help haul trash back to the dumpster.

Jan Doble said...

wow lorrie, that is a wonderful contribution you are making! best wishes to you. i obviously can't be there to help but will send good thoughts your way!! how' the mail-a-brick experiment going?!! now that you know it's 'legal' is it still worth the effort?!