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Rocky Mount resident donates boat to Washington river-saving group Will aid water cleanup and testing

By By CHRISTINA HALE,Staff Writer
A Rocky Mount man’s good fortune is going to help keep the Tar-Pamlico River Basin clean. After winning a new boat in a raffle contest, the man donated his 12-foot jon boat to the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation, said Rick Zablocki, vice-president on the foundation’s board of directors.
Jon boats are used primarily for fishing, constructed of aluminum or wood and have a flat bottom and a squared-off front. Zablocki said the donated boat is made of aluminum and will be used for trash pickup in the river.
The Pamlico-Tar River Foundation was founded in 1981. It is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting, preserving and promoting the environmental quality of the Tar-Pamlico River and its watershed, according to its Web site.
Zablocki said the foundation organizes at least two cleanups a year and will have another one in the fall. “We try to advertise it. Anyone can participate.”
During a cleanup, the boat is accompanied by volunteers in kayaks and canoes who help scoop trash and debris out of the water using nets.
The Jon boat will also be used for testing the water. Zablocki said the foundation regularly checks the water. “We do it to monitor the health of the river.”
Zablocki has a house on the river in Washington and has been a foundation member since 2004.
The foundation wants to educate the public on how to help. “Don’t dispose of waste in the river. Don’t fertilize your lawn … so that it runs off into the river,” Zablocki said.
The jon boat could use some additional serviceable accessories that someone might have “lying around or buried in the basement,” Zablocki said. “The basic things you need to have in a little boat.”
Donations can be dropped off at the foundation office at 108 N. Gladden Street in Washington. For more information about the foundation, to join or renew a membership, go to www.ptrf.org.