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Hard telling what's to be found in the river

By LEANA CHOATE - lchoate@newsexaminer.com

Anyone who doesn’t mind being out in the sun or getting wet is welcomed to help clean the Whitewater River Saturday.

The Whitewater River Surf and Turf Clean up is intended to help clean the river and keep the water quality up, said Dave Caldwell of the Fayette County Soil and Water Conservation District. Surf refers to cleaning the river; turf refers to a program about identifying and eliminating invasive species.

“We want to help preserve the water quality and show people what they can do to help,” he said.

Surf’s up for the clean up at 8 a.m. Saturday, starting from River Rats Canoe Rental at Robinson’s Whitewater River Campground, 1618 S. State Rd. 121.

“We will have donuts and then talk about safety and then run up (not literally) to the bridge on 5th where we’ll float down the river and meet back at the campground,” Caldwell said. 

Gloves, trash bags and shovels will be provided, Caldwell said. People should dress accordingly because they will be stepping in the river at times. Inner tubes will be provided.

Over the years, there has been less trash found in the river, but Caldwell said there is always plenty to fish out of it.

“We usually find a bunch of tires, but last year we didn’t. There are always aluminum cans – mostly beer.”

Some of the items found in the river surprised Caldwell, who has been doing this for years.

“We found a shopping cart once in the river. I don’t know how it got there because there’s nothing around that part of the river, but it was there,” Caldwell said, laughing. “And we find so many old parts of automobiles that if we kept all the pieces we could build one.”

Lunch will be provided after the clean up at the campground.

The same day, there will be an educational session about invasive plant species at Smalley’s Lake, 391 S. East St.

“It’s to help educate people on these plants that have overtaken our rivers and woods and yards that aren’t supposed to be here and how to defend against them. Most people don’t know what they look like and other plants that are supposed to be here and insects that we need can’t defend against them.” Caldwell said.

The “turf” session starts at 10:30 a.m. and will go until the “surfers” are done cleaning the river. Both groups will meet at Robinson’s Campground for lunch provided by Fayette County Soil and Water Conservation District.

 For more information, contact the Conservation District, 765-541-1287.