On June 5, 96 volunteers collected approximately 1.52 tons or 3,040 pounds of trash and recyclables – including 28 passenger tires and two semi-truck tires – from the West Fork-White River during the 5th Annual West Fork Watershed Celebration & Cleanup.
“We collected 1,000 more pounds of debris this year than last year,” said Nicole Hardiman, interim administrator for the Beaver Watershed Alliance, a new partner in the event this year. Hardiman chaired this year’s planning committee.
“Other items pulled from the river included the shell of a big screen television set, as well as a newspaper dispensing box,” she said.
Riverside Park in downtown West Fork served as headquarters again this year. The cleanup began at 8 a.m. and ended at 11 a.m., when volunteers were treated to a BBQ chicken lunch with all the fixings, as well as music from Bernice and Bryan Hembree and door prizes from numerous contributors.
Those in attendance also had the opportunity to visit with a handful of exhibitors who provided games and education. Exhibitors included the Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association, the Arkansas Watershed Advisory Group, Watershed Conservation Resource Center, Audubon Arkansas, Beaver Water District, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, Arkansas Stream Team, Natural Resources Conservation Service and Washington County’s Conservation District, and Washington County Environmental Affairs.
“The cleanup brings attention to the need to take care of the West Fork of the White River,” Hardiman said. “This tributary flows into Beaver Lake, which is our supply of drinking water. We hold the cleanup as a way to continue to protect our source of drinking water and protect wildlife habitats.”
Cleanup volunteers included teams of youth and adults from the Church of Latter Day Saints-Fayetteville, the Ozark Society, the Arkansas Canoe Club, and Washington County 4-H.
This year’s event partners included the West Fork Watershed Alliance, the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, Arkansas Stream Team, Beaver Watershed Alliance, Watershed Conservation Resource Center, Washington County Environmental Affairs, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, and Beaver Water District. Sponsors included the City of Fayetteville, the City of West Fork, Audubon Arkansas, Bank of Fayetteville, Arvest Bank, Tyson Foods, Pack Rat, Waste Management and Keep Arkansas Beautiful.
For more information, contact Hardiman at 422-1014.