Join them

Published 4:56 am Saturday, October 6, 2007

By Staff
Some people will make a difference today when it comes to the Pamlico-Tar River. Those people are the ones participating in the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation’s North Carolina Big Sweep 2007 campaign.
Volunteers in Washington and Greenville are making the campaign possible. For many years, the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation, with its headquarters in Washington, has been a vigilant guardian of the Pamlico-Tar River watershed.
And as much gratitude as the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation deserves for doing its part to help keep North Carolina’s waterways clean, there are other organizations and people who deserve praise for similar efforts.
One of those people is Lundie Spence, who turned a dream into a reality that has been helping the state for 20 years.
North Carolina Big Sweep was founded as Beach Sweep in 1987 by Spence, who’s associated with the North Carolina Sea Grant College Program. In 1989, the public-private partnership officially became Big Sweep, the nation’s first statewide waterway cleanup. North Carolina Big Sweep has had more than 230,000 volunteers and collected over eight million pounds of trash from North Carolina watersheds since its inception.
That’s making a difference. And some of that trash has been removed from the Pamlico-Tar River and its tributaries. And some of those volunteers have come from counties, town, cities and neighborhoods along the Pamlico-Tar River.
One of those volunteers is Liane Harsh, owner of Inner Banks Outfitters in Washington. The business is donating kayaks for volunteers to use as they work to clean up the Pamlico-Tar River today.
Harsh realizes that a cleaner, healthier river means her business will be healthier.
Washington residents and others must realize that the river off the city’s waterfront is an invaluable asset for the city. Cleaning up that river during the Big Sweep campaign each year makes sense. But it makes even more sense to make sure efforts are under way to make sure the river is cleaned up more than just once a year.
The river is the fourth-largest river system in North Carolina. It has long been a favorite place for recreational boaters and sport fishermen. The river’s lower reaches serve as nursery areas for many species of aquatic life. For those reasons and many others, keeping the river clean is a must.
The river plays an important role in the state’s billion-dollar fishing industry. After all, the river empties into the Pamlico Sound, which leads to the Atlantic Ocean. A healthier river should lead to a healthier sound. A healthier sound should help make for a healthier ocean.
If you are out on the river today to do some fishing or boating and run across some volunteers cleaning up the river, give them a well-deserved “Thank you.”
Even better, join them as they clean up the river.