Volunteers sought for bayou cleanup

THIBODAUX (AP) — The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program expects to find a wide variety of junk in Bayou Lafourche when the group does its annual cleanup along 106 miles of the waterway March 15.
A spokeswoman said past finds in sweeps of the bayou, which provides drinking water for communities along its banks, have included old toilets, jet skis , underwear and a World’s Greatest Grandma trophy.
Last year, volunteers pulled 18 tons of debris from the bayou.
The group is seeking volunteers for the cleanup.
Alma Robichaux, education coordinator for the group, said about 1,000 volunteers are needed to sweep the bayou from Donaldsonville to Leeville.
The event serves a few different purposes. Beautifying the bayou is one, but Robichaux said the organization can learn a lot from logs that show how much trash came from each sector along Bayou Lafourche.
The bayou serves as a source of drinking water for some 300,000 people, including serving as the primary source for Lafourche and Terrebonne parishes.
Prospective volunteers can reach Robichaux at 985-447-0868 or alma@btnep.org.
“It is a public outreach and public awareness campaign to let folks know what is in the bayou and letting folks participate in its physical recovery,” said Hugh Caffery, chairman of the Bayou Lafourche Freshwater District Board.
“We know we need to protect this resource and there is a lot that must be done for maintaining it and the only way to do that is letting the people know,” he said.
The district is charged with maintaining the bayou and operating the pumping station that feeds water into it from the Mississippi River in Donaldsonville.
The sweep will begin at 8 a.m. and runs until noon.
Organizers are looking for site captains for the Donaldsonville and Madewood areas. Captains are responsible for recruiting volunteers, setting up a staging area for supplies, selecting sites for boat launching and dumpsters and recruiting businesses to provide restrooms and access to the bayou.
Also being sought are people with boats and volunteers to walk along the bayou, haul bagged trash, set up staging areas, cook for volunteer collectors and do other tasks.

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