Forest Service, Wolfe County and PRIDE clean Red River tributaryOctober 23, 2013 by clackey
A year-long cleanup of Swift Camp Creek, which is a tributary of the Red River, is complete.
Trash pulled from the creek added up to 27 pickup-truck loads with 60 to 70 bags each, 10 dump-truck loads of 3 to 3.5 tons each, and 230 tires. County workers and inmates spent 984 hours on the project. Disposing of the trash cost $1,675.
The U.S. Forest Service had awarded a partnership agreement to PRIDE, a nonprofit organization, last fall to manage the cleanup project and dispose of the trash. The Forest Service and PRIDE contributed in-kind services, staff time, and expertise. The Wolfe County Fiscal Court provided equipment and inmate labor. The Kentucky Division of Water and the Kentucky Waterways Alliance provided additional fiscal and in-kind support. Citizens also helped on several volunteer days.
The partners cleaned a seven-mile section of the creek, starting upstream of Campton and ending downstream of Rock Bridge in the Daniel Boone National Forest.
“This cleanup impacted not only Swift Camp Creek, but also the streams in the Red River Gorge,” explained Jon Walker, Hydrologist with the Daniel Boone National Forest. “All the trash would have worked its way downstream over time.”
“Many volunteers were shocked by how much trash was in the stream,” Walker said. “Everyone sees roadside litter, but few people see stream trash. Trash eventually washes into waterways, and there it’s ‘out of sight, out of mind.’”
“This was the most challenging cleanup I’ve ever done,” said Wolfe County Solid Waste Coordinator Ashley Bowman. “The trash was hard to spot, and more would show up after each rain. We had to carry the trash a long way to load it.”
“It was worth it, though, because the creek is safer for our children and grandchildren now that all the metal and plastic bags are gone,” Bowman said.
“A future goal is to add a walking trail from the city park to Rock Bridge, and this cleanup was a big first step,” Bowman added.
“We appreciate Jon Walker, Judge-Executive Dennis Brooks, and Ashley Bowman for their teamwork on this project,” said Tammie Wilson of PRIDE. “Jon’s expertise was invaluable, and Ashley and his crew put in many long, hard days. Judge Brooks was out there, too, pulling carpet out of the creek and driving a dump truck.”
“I also want to thank the volunteers who helped out and encourage them to keep up the good work in other areas that need attention,” Wilson added.
Looking ahead, Bowman said that the county will make spot checks to make sure dumping does not recur in the area. “No Dumping” signs already have been posted at several old dump sites along the creek.
“This cleanup raised a lot of awareness about the problem of trash in the creek, so I think people are going to be more careful and they’ll be alert to signs of dumping,” Bowman said. “If anyone sees dumping, please call me to report it.”
Bowman’s phone number is 606-668-7811.
Citizens who want to care for the Red River and its tributaries are invited to help draft and implement a watershed plan for the area. For more information, please call Jon Walker at 859-745-3100.