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Volunteers sought for river cleanup

Article Published: Sep. 1, 2011 | Modified: Sep. 6, 2011
Volunteers sought for river cleanup

Volunteers are needed for this year's Watauga River cleanup.

Interested persons should meet at 9 a.m. on Sept. 10 at designated locations along the Watauga River. Participants should contact Wendy Patoprsty at or call (828) 264-3061 to sign up and get more information. Participants will be designated a cleanup site.

Those taking part should be prepared to bring sunscreen water, snacks, shoes that stay on your feet (no flip flops or crocs). Dress in clothes that you won't mind getting dirty and wet. A change of clothes, ball cap and sunglasses are suggested but optional. Gloves and trash bags will be provided.
During the last 10 years, hundreds of volunteers in the High Country have helped keep waterways clean by participating in the annual BigSweep River Clean Up. Many times, trash ends up in rivers from roadside litter, windy conditions blowing trash around, or careless people.

This year, there will be multiple cleanup sites designated, but those who know of a place that needs cleaning should contact Patoprsty.

In 2010, 124 volunteers cleaned up 1,940 pounds of trash out of the Watauga River from Foscoe to the county line.

"It is amazing what we can do together as a team," Patoprsty said. "Litter is a hazard. Animals eat debris and get caught in it. Clean up efforts in North Carolina have found birds, fish, and even cats entangled in rope, bags and nets. Broken glass and rusted cans can cut humans and animals. Even organic debris can negatively affect a waterway by changing the nutrient composition. Many items that degrade over time, such as paper and metal, leach chemicals."

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