300 take to Lagoon for annual trash cleanup

By Debbie Carson, Online Editor

INDIAN RIVER LAGOON — About 300 boaters, kayakers and canoeists took to the water Saturday morning on a mission to scrub the waters clean of trash, all in an effort to collect even more garbage than last year. They joined about 600 others in two other counties.

The second annual Treasure Coast Waterway Cleanup was expected to draw more than last year’s 700 volunteers and more than 6.6 tons of fishing nets, bottles and soda cans, and construction debris, according to Vero Beach Municipal Marina Director Tim Grabenbauer. Grabenbauer said that new this year are the data cards volunteers will use to keep track of where they find the trash and the various items they haul aboard their vessels.

The cleanup is a tri-county effort covering 125 miles of waterways from Indian River, Martin and St. Lucie counties. Last year, trash collected included a basketball and an aluminum chair frame, which was logged at the marina.

Other cleanup sites recorded a hand gun, a bag of marijuana, a tiki hut, a boat bow, a pinata, homemade toilets, a solar panel, a Christmas tree, several bicycles, and street signs – everything including the kitchen sink, literally, according to a press release from the Treasure Coast Waterway Cleanup last year.

“It’s phenomenal the things you find,” Cynthia Grabenbauer said. this is her second time participating in the cleanup.

“I’d like to see a huge boat of junk,” she said.

Before launching from shore Saturday morning, volunteer and member of the Exchange Club of Indian River County Kim Keck said that he was happy to be involved.

“We just do our part to help the community,” Keck said of volunteering with the club and helping with the cleanup. “It’s a pretty morning.”

Organizers are expected to tally the amount of trash collected at each of the six disposal/launch sites in Indian River County. April Price, of the cleanup, said that it would take her about 10 days to go through all the data cards and determine a final tonnage.

“It’s pretty time involved,” she said.

All the volunteers will be recognized and the formal announcement of their accomplishments will be announced at a barbecue at the Fort Pierce Yacht Club on Aug. 16.

“We couldn’t ask for anything more,” Price said.

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