Boley Creek Watershed area meeting

Published 8:30 pm Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Concerned citizens and officials met at the Poplarville High School libraryon Tuesday to discuss conservation of the Boley Creek watershed.

Judy Steckler, director of the Land Trust for the Mississippi Coastal Plain, said the main goal at the present time is getting the community involved and finding citizens who may be interested in preserving the Boley Creek watershed. One way Stecker said the community could get involved is to host a “Clean-up Day” in which locals gather at a spot along the Boley Creek and clean up debris and litter.

“We could pick a section of Boley Creek or somewhere in the watershed and clean it up. We could provide lunch, such as hot dogs or something and maybe have displays about the importance of maintaining a clean watershed. It would help us identify adults who may be interested,” Steckler said.

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Tom Kennedy, Pearl River Project Manager for the Louisiana field office of the Nature Conservancy, said a similar project has been a success along Hurricane Creek.

“On Hurricane Creek, they have an annual chili cook-off, and they float the creek and pick up litter. At the end, they have groups that have information and who educate the public,” Kennedy said.

Julia Anderson, vice-president of the board of directors for the Land Trust, suggested a location on Mississippi 26 close to White Sand Church as a possible clean-up site.

“The spot under the bridge there is full of debris,” Anderson said.

Ann Bosworth, Special Services Coordinator at the Poplarville High School Career Development Center, said another possible site would be somewhere in the Sones Chapel Community.

“The Sones Chapel area is a big swimming place, but it’s really dirty,” Bosworth said.

Anderson said the important thing would be to get people initially involved.

“When you get active participation, projects pop up. You have to have people who live in the area get involved in the project and who care about it. Then we’ll have plenty of projects to do,” Anderson said.

Lynette Wesley, a speech therapist for the Poplarville Special Municipal Separate School District, said that while the project could not be school sponsored, the school could send fliers about the project home with the students. Wesley also suggested involving the local Boy and Girl Scouts.

Kennedy suggested contacting local hunters and fishermen as possible interested parties.

Anderson said she would contact the Rotary Clubs in Picayune and Poplarville and see if they were interested in participating in a clean-up day.

Steckler said she believes that once a definite project is set, that progress can be made toward generating more public interest in conserving the watershed. Steckler said her goal is to have a clean-up day or some other family-oriented activity within the next three to four months.

Anyone with suggestions for conservation projects within the Boley Creek watershed, wanting more information about the watershed or interested in participating in the clean-up day can contact Judy Steckler with the Land Trust at (228) 435-9191.