Riverkeeper Cup Challenge is more than a competition

Published 2:10 pm Friday, April 10, 2009

By Staff
There is no doubt the Pamlico-Tar River is an important asset to Washington and Greenville, and more so for Washington.
Yes, the river flows by both cities. But you rarely, if ever, hear people talking about Greenville’s waterfront, unless it’s in the context of that city’s Town Commons. But Washington’s waterfront is talked about and visited frequently. Washington’s waterfront is at the center of so many events.
The river is important to both cities and their residents. So it is no wonder that Washington and Greenville have agreed to a friendly competition, albeit one that will benefit the river and the two communities.
Washington and Greenville are facing off against each other in the inaugural Riverkeeper Cup Challenge sponsored by the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation. The event is part of PRTF’s cleanup of the river on April 18.
Washington Mayor Judy Meier Jennette and Greenville Mayor Pat Dunn know the challenge is more about cleaning up the river than who wins the cup. No matter which city wins the cup, the real winner will be the river. The mayors understand that by making a competition out of the cleanup, there’s a better chance that more people will help remove trash, car tires, shopping carts and pesticide containers from the river.
If past cleanups are any indication, there is plenty of trash to be removed.
In 2006, cleanups removed 2,000 pounds of trash from the river, according to PTRF’s Web site. In 2007, cleanup efforts collected 2,650 pounds of trash. Cleanups in 2008 removed 2,000 pounds of trash. That’s more than three tons of trash removed from the river in three years.
Removing all that trash goes a long way in improving and protecting the river’s water quality. The river plays an important role in North Carolina’s billion-dollar fishing industry, commercial and recreational fishing. The lower reaches of the river serve as nursery areas for fish, crabs and other aquatic life. Fish like herring and shad travel upriver to spawn, many of them during this time of the year.
Amen to that.