Creek cleanup called a success

Published 11:41 pm Saturday, October 16, 2010

More than 100 volunteers signed up Saturday to participate in an effort to clean up a five-mile section of Hobolochitto Creek.

Tom Wagner said about 115 volunteers signed up for the event. An aerial tour from Rescue 7 showed lots of canoes, kayaks and other small water craft floating the creek picking up trash.

A track hoe capable of navigating the creek with minimal disturbance was seen clearing out large piles of trash. Wagner said that when the large trash pile was partially dismantled earlier in the morning, the water level above the pile fell about four inches.

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Numerous agencies and organizations joined in the effort, including American Red Cross, Mississippi Power, Coast Electric, Stonewall’s Barbecue and the Picayune Junior High and High School Security Councils.

Several students from the Security Council pulled out a pile of old tires, a small television and an old gas station sign, which read .28 cents a gallon, during Saturday’s effort.

The aerial view of the creek showed where several volunteers had collected trash and bagged it up, leaving the bags temporarily along the bank for retrieval later.

In meetings prior to Saturday’s big push, the planners of the effort have discussed the possibility of forming a society to help keep the creek clean. Wagner said there is consideration of expanding the maintenance area along the creek by another five miles north.

The whole effort began a few months ago when John Huck and his brother decided to take a couple of small water craft down the creek from Long Bridge to Brunt Bridge in what was supposed to be a leisurely trip. Most of the trip went well until the two men came up against the large trash pile, which blocked their path and the flow of water.

Huck said he was at work one day discussing his trip with Pearl River County Coroner Derek Turnage and Highland Community Hospital Chief Operations Officer Mark Stockstill when the idea to clean up the mess came to the three men. During Huck’s trip, he took a video and showed it to Turnage and Stockstill, prompting the three men to take another trip with the Item to document the state of the waterway.

The resulting word of mouth and media coverage brought about involvement from surrounding organizations and volunteers, prompting Saturday’s cleanup sponsored by Mississippi Power’s Renew Our Rivers Program and Coast Electric.