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Cleanup keeps rivers alive and healthy

Keep Liberty Beautiful

POSTED: October 3, 2017 4:00 p.m.
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Sara Swida is director of Keep Liberty Beautiful.

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You’re invited to wade into Rivers Alive with us this month as we focus on protecting our many diverse waterways throughout Liberty County.

Sadly, litter and debris can make something so wonderful, like water, so disgusting. For over a decade, Rivers Alive has served as a fun and rewarding way for communities statewide to protect Georgia’s water resources.

Rivers Alive is an effort to preserve and protect our waterways. Rivers Alive is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division’s Environmental Outreach Program. Events are also part of the international efforts of The Ocean Conservancy. In Liberty County, we have our main Rivers Alive Day on national Make a Difference Day, Saturday, Oct. 28.

By participating, you can enjoy a few hours helping remove pollution from the waterways that are home to wildlife and aquatic life, that are a source for our drinking water and a destination for our recreation and fun. Liberty is a coastal county and our community is more than 40 percent "wet" with wetlands, marshes, creeks, streams, ponds and rivers.

Do you know where these waters eventually take stuff that washed up by them — like litter and debris? You guessed it. The big blue ocean that is next to us! We do not want it to be dotted with Liberty County trash.

Clean, clear, healthy water is something we take for granted. To have water that want to drink and to swim in, and all the other uses we have, we have to protect our waterways. Here is your chance to make clean, healthy waterways. At Rivers Alive, we can make a difference as volunteers by stopping litter at more than 70 locations in the county.

It doesn’t matter where you live. Trash littered in the west end of the county can be just as devastating as trash tossed from a boat in the Intercoastal Waterway. Unfortunately, trash travels. That is why we have cleanups throughout the county.

It is crucial to stop litter before it flows downstream. We like to catch litter where it happens before it ends up in rivers and the ocean where litter retrieval is very challenging. Litter anywhere in our county threatens the waters throughout our community.

Last year, we had 778 volunteers who "hunkered down" in spite of Hurricane Matthew for our waterways. With your help, we can surpass that. We already have a number of groups registered — and thanks to all of them — but we still need you. In just a few hours of your time on a Saturday morning, you can make a powerful difference where you live. And don’t worry, we’ll make sure you’re through before any big games start.

We will have Rivers Alive T-shirts for the first 650 registered volunteers. We also provide all the supplies for our hardworking volunteers. Our sponsor, SNF, helps make the cleanup enjoyable, providing a fabulous cookout for volunteers at Riceboro Creek Park on Highway 17 South after the cleanups. We appreciate their annual support because these cleanups would not be possible without them.

So, plan to make a difference and contact us at Keep Liberty Beautiful. And do not worry if you do not like to get your feet wet, we have plenty of cleanup locations on dry land. To register, call 912-880-4888 or email klcb@coastalnow.net. If the 28th does not work for you and your group, we can schedule another date for you during the fall. We have plenty of places that could use the help of volunteers like you. From Walthourville to the Atlantic Ocean, our waterways need you. Do not take clean water for granted, join us for Rivers Alive!

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