River cleanup marches on despite foul weather

Group collects 75 pounds of trash along the Miami River

Members of the Miami River Streamkeepers Society boated along the Miami River on Sunday

Despite torrential rains on Sunday, Sept. 29, World’s Rivers Day, 16 people turned up to help out the Harrison Hot Springs Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup. This year the team cleaned up a section of Miami River from the Ruth Altendorf Bridge to the Maple Street canoe and kayak launch as well as the lake foreshore.

In total, 34 kg (75 pounds) of trash was picked up including one bag of recyclable cans and bottles. From the Miami River, two large plastic tarps and a real estate sign were recovered.  Now who would dump such items into a stream rich with Coho salmon and cutthroat trout and the endangered Salish sucker?

Last year only 28 pounds of trash was collected. This year’s amount is larger due to the instream garbage but it doesn’t account for all the increase.The cleanup last year was  two weeks earlier when a Village staffer was still assigned to beach cleanup on a regular basis. One would assume in two weeks the public discards approximately 25 pounds of garbage around our lakefront.

It seems more education on the hazards of trash in our waterways is needed. The Village certainly provides plenty of garbage and cigarette butt disposal receptacles. Cigarette disposal has improved with a decline to 320 this year from 2,300 butts in 2011.

Because of the wind, the Miami River Streamkeepers Society who sponsored the clean up, and WildSafeBC were unable to put up the big display boards. However brochures were available for interested members of the public and the bear claws were a hit.

Laura Chappell of WildSafeBC noted that no bear-human conflict was reported in Harrison Hot Springs this year. Public awareness of bear safe practices and tagging garbage cans does work! Thanks Laura!

Thank you to the Village of Harrison Hot Springs for providing tables, a tent, a rowboat and trash bags. Special thanks to the two Streamkeepers who rowed the river in the rain. That was commendable. Also kudos to Mayor Facio and Councilor Alan Jackson for showing up in the rain, to Communities in Bloom members who cleaned Rendall Park and provided delicious cookies and to the many Streamkeepers who helped set up, cleanup and take down.

Thank you to the gardner’s-at-large who returned equipment to the works yard.

Janne Perrin is chair of the Miami River Streamkeepers Society.

For more information, visit the group online at www.miamiriverstreamkeepers.9k.com.