Lifestyle

Volunteers clean up Stillaguamish River

ARLINGTON — The Stilly-Snohomish Fisheries Enhancement Task Force and the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance recently held a river clean-up event along the Stillaguamish River in Arlington.

The effort, which took place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7, focused on three Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife boat launch sites along the north fork of the river — the Big Rock/Blue Stilly, Hevly Road Park and Twin Rivers Park.

Volunteers picked up aluminum cans, broken glass, fish hooks and other waste floating near the river. The waste, in addition to affecting the aesthetic value of the Stillaguamish River, also includes pollutants, such as toxic chemicals, which can harm aquatic wildlife.

"We had a great group of volunteers, both locals and some who came up from Seattle, who demonstrated that people really are willing to do their part to combat marine debris in their local waterway," said Katelyn Kinn, pollution prevention coordinator for the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance. "The volunteers, who removed everything from old mattresses to cigarette butts, were very dedicated; they braved the rain, worked up a sweat and weren’t afraid to get dirty in an effort to protect the Stillaguamish River. Puget Soundkeeper Alliance appreciates the efforts of these volunteers and encourages everyone to contribute to future clean-up events in their neighborhoods.”

Neal Chism, volunteer for the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, said that there was plenty of trash to be had during the cleanup.

"People worked really hard and it’s great to see it getting away from the river and away from the fish in the water," Chism said. "The clean up event is a worthwhile thing.”

The fishing access points are popular places for people to hang out during the summer, said Jessica Tupper, habitat restoration technician for the task force. She added that individuals often leave their trash behind once they're done fishing.

It’s bad for us and our river, and I’m glad to see there’s such great volunteer interest in preserving our natural resources," Tupper said.

The cleanup was the fifth event held in the Snohomish County area this summer.

The task force also spearheaded beach cleanup efforts at Jetty Island and Howarth Park in Everett and at Mukilteo Lighthouse Park in Mukilteo.

Additionally, volunteers also took part in an ivy pull at Kayak Point in Tulalip.

For more information about the Stilly-Snohomish Fisheries Enhancement Task Force, visit www.stillysnofish.org.

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