Keeping the world's oceans clean starts right in Jamestown, with the Chadakoin River.
"All these rivers connect, eventually, to the ocean. So, whatever we aren't responsible for here, we're eventually sending it to the ocean, sooner or later," said Dan Myers, owner of Secret Garden Flower Shop.
Myers is teaming up with John Gallagher, chairman of the Conewango Creek Watershed Association, to clean up the Chadakoin River on Sept. 8 for the second annual Chadakoin River Clean-Up.
Volunteers will be working to clean the portion of the Chadakoin River on Sept. 8. Portions of the river, such as the area pictured above near Blackstone Avenue, have a buildup of fallen trees, trash and other debris.
P-J photo by Liz Skoczylas
The men are hoping to clean the section of the Chadakoin between Warner Dam and Winsor Street, depending on the number of volunteers the cleanup attracts. For its first year, around 20 volunteers turned out to help.
"We got all kinds of trash. We got metal pipe, metal debris, things that were leftover and were remnants from the manufacturing era in Jamestown," Gallagher said. "We got out plastic bottles and glass, just all kinds of rubbish and garbage. We even found a power saw in there, of all things."
Prior to last year, the river had never been cleaned out by minimizing the flow from the dam and cleaning out the actual river. However, groups have worked over the years to clean up the area around it.
"We didn't get quite as far as we wanted to last year. We started at the dam and we got down to Institute Street. But, we got out a number of things," Gallagher said.
This year, the men hope the volunteers will be able to clean further down the river during the course of the five-hour day. An area of the Chadakoin near Blackstone Avenue, which is frequented by people fishing, is especially in need of a cleanup.
Cleaning rivers is not unique to Jamestown, though. According to Gallagher, two other groups began cleaning other rivers about four years ago. Two private businesses worked to clean the Allegheny and Conewango rivers.
"If the river isn't clean, obviously nobody is going to want to go near it. Riverwalk is an area we are trying to promote," Gallagher said. "Hopefully, eventually we want to increase our tourism, have maybe some business development along the Chadakoin. But, the river has to be clean. It has to be a nice environment to get people to come in."
The Conewango Creek Watershed Association is also looking for the cleanup to grow in upcoming years. Part of the initiative is to identify problems with the state of the river and prevent them, rather than work on them after they've occurred.
"Cleaning it up is one thing, but keeping it clean is another. Sometimes, when you are doing a cleanup, as positive as the initiative is to do that, sometimes it ends up being a short-term solution to a long-term problem," Gallagher said. "So, you really want to try identify in terms of how and where all the trash is coming from."
Registration for the 2012 Chadakoin River Clean-Up will be held beginning at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 8 at the Fire Training Center at 241 Harrison St. Food and beverages will be provided, along with gloves, buckets and trash bags, which were all donated for the cause.
Gallagher emphasized that volunteers will be in the river for the cleanup and should wear clothes in which they don't mind getting dirty.
For more information, or to donate materials, contact Gallagher at the Conewango Creek Watershed Association at 450-8508.