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Watauga Lake Watershed Alliance seeking volunteers for clean up

clean up
Volunteers are hard at work during the annual Watauga Lake cleanup. Organizers are once again seeking volunteers for the upcoming cleanup scheduled for September. Photo courtesy of the Watauga Lake Watershed Alliance.

By Jinifer Rae
Freelance Writer

The Watauga Lake Watershed Alliance is once again looking for volunteers to join in helping its annual clean up at Watauga Lake. This year’s cleanup event marks the ninth anniversary since its origination by Mary Salter, and the need for an annual cleanup has continued thanks to the support and assistance of many volunteers. Last year, nearly 50 volunteers helped remove more than 8,000 pounds of waste from the lake. The upcoming clean up scheduled for September will once again have the assistance of Johnson and Carter county solid waste departments that are donating dumpsters to remove this year’s collected waste.

Of course the clean effort is for a good reason. Watauga Lake was completed in 1948, and since then visitors have continued to come to the water to enjoy fishing, swimming, camping, boating, and much more. With the increase of visitors, unfortunately comes an increase in the amount of waste and debris. The annual Watauga Lake clean up event is scheduled this year for Saturday, September 15, 2018. Registration is from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sink Boat Ramp on Johnson county side of the lake, and on the Carter county side, volunteers can register at Fish Springs Mariana. There is no cost to register for the event and supplies needed for the volunteers will be provided. In addition to gloves and the trash bags, water, snacks, and T-shirts are available this year.

Volunteers are again needed to assist in cleaning up the shoreline, but organizers are also asking people who enjoy being on the water to come and help access the difficult to reach areas of the lake. Lakeshore Marina and Fish Springs Marina have sponsored workboats for volunteers, but more is needed.

Rita Cowan, chairperson for Watauga Lake Cleanup and a member of the Watauga Lake Watershed Alliance, stated “Anyone who can get in a kayak, canoe, fishing boat, even a pontoon, we would like to come and help pick up debris out of the coves, even if you can only hold one bag in your canoe, it will make a big difference.”

Cowan added “Watauga Lake is special, it has lots of inlets and almost hidden areas where debris can collect that’s why we need as many in water vehicles as possible. We would really like to have many more turn out this year to help.”

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