Looking Back at 2015 and Ahead to 2016
This bar chart summarizes the trash cleanup activities during 2015. AASP + AAFSP represents all cleanups by our 16 groups in the Adopt-A-Shoreline and two in the Adopt-A-Feeder Stream Programs. Those in the AASP are required to do three cleanups per year at their designated sites around the lake. Those in the AAFSP are required to do two cleanups along streams that feed into Jordan Lake.
Community Service refers to the semi-annual cleanups open to the general public and all others performed by corporate, business, university, middle and second schools, civic and religious organizations throughout the year.
Regrettably, rain in early Spring and again throughout the Fall caused us to either cancel or postpone several major cleanups. The reason in most cases was not rain during the day of the cleanup, but the lake level rise following earlier rain. High water prevents safe access to the shoreline and leaves a lot trash unreachable, floating in the water. The chart shows that the level rose many times in Spring and starting in October, remained far above normal for long stretches of time.
Even a 2 ft rise brings water a hundred feet into the adjoining woods, accompanied by trash flushed from 1,700 square miles of watershed. Rainfall from Oct. 1 to Dec. 31 was 20 inches, one-half the normal of an entire year.
The lake level rose to over 17 ft of normal in late December! This has not been seen since 2003. Jordan Lake State Park had to close entrances because of extensive flooding. Even now after a break in the rain, the lake level is still 16 ft above normal.
Our volunteers will face an enormous cleanup challenge once the lake level recedes to normal. They will be removing trash that extends hundreds of feet back from the shoreline into the woods.
The graph shows the cumulative results of our volunteer effort since 2009. Over 4,000 volunteers have participated. They have removed nearly 11,000 bags of trash and 3,800 tires.
We estimate the value of their work in terms of goods and services donated at about $550,000. No agency of local, regional or state government can tackle the problem.
The obvious solution is trash prevention within the watershed. This is an enormous challenge for a grassroots nonprofit like Clean Jordan Lake with no paid staff.
We hope to gain the support of all nine counties in the watershed in new public awareness campaigns. We will continue our Educational Pontoon Boat Tours for County Leaders, started with Durham, this Spring. The "We All Live in the Watershed" theme promoted in elementary schools by the Soil and Water Conservation Division of NC Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services is an excellent example of what needs to be done to sensitize our citizens about good stewardship.