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Ward Creek — Cleanup Three

2012-07-28

How could we let July go without another cleanup?  Well,  schedule conflicts, last-minute decisions, and the continued recovery from dental surgery (but only for one of us, thankfully), seemed likely to scuttle the plan.  Then Saturday morning, everything fell in to place, and we managed to slip one in just under the wire.

We shoved off from East Harbor right around 9am and paddled downstream looking for a good spot to attack.  The steep inner banks of Ward Creek make things a bit sketchy in most places, so you’re really looking for somewhere with a slight flat-ish area right at the water, and a downed tree or branch or other friendly hold is always a nice touch.  We found a nice spot on the north bank not far downstream.  (Note the smaller limb sticking out right above a mud flat just beyond the large horizontal branch.)

It’s never very easy to climb the clay-laden slope onto the high bank, but a spot like this is as good as it gets.  You tie off, spike your paddle into the mud, and use it to stop your foot from sliding into the creek as you step out.  Then you just get all sorts of muddy scrambling, sliding, or flopping up the bank.  Hey, whatever works, eh?

The “nice” thing is that the small mud flats are often an indicator of areas where overflow water pours back in to the creek channel as the water goes down, so not only do they somewhat assist you going ashore, but they also tend to be great spots to start a cleanup.  This one was certainly no exception.  A couple paces from the inner bank, we came across a large area of beached litter.

This is typical of what you see in the litter-collecting areas of the lower banks of Ward Creek.  Anything that floats will collect in these areas:  bottles, cups, cans, styrofoam, shoes, construction debris, mounted tires (unmounted tires sink, of course).  With vast amounts of litter collected like this, it’s easy to gather many bags worth all at once, which certainly makes it feel like we’re getting something done.

This time we even set up a camera to record a time-lapse video of the whole day of litter-picking.  Unfortunately, the brand new camera went all wonky and stopped recording practically right at the beginning.  (It was still *pretending* to shoot, counting frames and flashing the LEDs with each not-actually-recorded frame.  Needless to say, it’s in the process of being replaced under warranty.)  We *did* get enough before it stopped to show at least a little before-and-after composite from the first bag or so.

We managed to fill 21 contractor bags of litter.  It should’ve been 24 bags, but the box was missing three bags.  We decided not to bother complaining to Lowe’s *this time* about being shorted three bags.  It was a hot enough day for 21 bags to be plenty, hehe.  Once we were done filling them, we zip tied them closed and started hauling them out on the canoe.

This time, we paddled them down to West Harbor (directly behind the southeast corner of Lowe’s) and heaved them ashore there.  It’s a bit harder to get them on the bank, and climbing up to them isn’t easy, either, but we wanted to set them up by West Harbor where they would be more visible to more people, as many people turn left there to go to Walmart or the other stores.  We stacked them by the side of the road, and this time we labelled them in *rainbow* duct tape.

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