Lee County Rivers Alive clean-up event postponed - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Lee County Rivers Alive clean-up event postponed

Jim Wright, Code Enforcement Officer Jim Wright, Code Enforcement Officer
Photo of volunteers removing debris from Lee County creeks during the 2011 Rivers Alive event Photo of volunteers removing debris from Lee County creeks during the 2011 Rivers Alive event
A Dr. Pepper machine recovered by volunteers from a Lee County creek during the 2011 Rivers Alive event A Dr. Pepper machine recovered by volunteers from a Lee County creek during the 2011 Rivers Alive event
An whiskey bottle dating back to 1880 that was recovered in the Kinchafoonee creek during the 2011 Rivers Alive event An whiskey bottle dating back to 1880 that was recovered in the Kinchafoonee creek during the 2011 Rivers Alive event
LEESBURG, GA (WALB) -

An annual event to clean trash and debris from Lee County waterways has been postponed because of excessively wet weather.

Lee County Code Enforcement Officers say high water levels would create dangerous conditions for volunteers at Rivers Alive event.  And they said they're not willing to take any chances.

A hundred volunteers hoping to clean-up Lee County creeks will have to wait about a month before they can begin removing trash along waterways. 

These choppy waters near Pinewood road that look like chocolate milk are just one example of Lee County Creek conditions after two solid weeks of rain.

"Unfortunately, this year is the first year we've had to postpone an event, and it's due to the water levels, and the water being churned up.  You can't see any trash," said Jim Wright, Code Enforcement Officer.

Wright said volunteers expected to climb aboard nearly fifty canoes this weekend until water measurements determined potentially hazardous conditions.

"Well, the water's up, so it's moving faster than it usually is.  And the chance for a roll over is greater.  And in the places that we've been last year, the water was around two feet deep.  Now it's around six feet deep.  So you're just not gonna be able to get the trash down at the bottom...off the bottom like we did last year," said Wright.

The Rivers Alive program was started by Lee County Commissioners as an effort to clean the county's waterways, and has seen an increase in participation over the years. 

"I think we're actually seeing an improvement in Lee County.  The amount of trash that we're getting seems to be less and less each year.  And we've been after it hard for seven years now," said Wright. 

And the effort to clean up has revealed some big surprises.

"I can tell you this, if you can name something, I've probably got a picture of it where it came out of the creek.  I mean some strange items have been found in the creek," Wright said.. 

But safety is one of the main things Wright says he has to keep in mind.

"Our volunteers have different levels of canoeing experience.  So I have to go with the lowest experienced volunteer, and right now I don't feel the water is safe for them to be on," Wright said.

And now the people hoping to take away trash will have to wait until Saturday August 10th to clean up these waters. 

Wright said the county has removed most of the nails that were dumped into the waterways last year.  He said more nails will be recovered when water levels drop down.  But he also said the blue hole was untouched by nails and is safe to swim in.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office will host a bar-be-que lunch at Chehaw for volunteers after the clean-up effort in August.

They have enough volunteers signed up, but anyone hoping to participate in next year's cleanup can contact the Lee County Chamber of Commerce. 

Copyright 2013 WALB.  All rights reserved.   

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