A group led by KS Wild launched rafts and scoured the banks of the river in Gold Hill Saturday for trash and pollutants.
Jim Modoff, a volunteer and recreational fisherman, says many of the fishing areas in Southern Oregon are becoming too polluted to fish.
“I just don’t see the average person being aware that you just don’t use this as a dump,” said Modoff. “It’s a nice place, let’s keep it that way.”
The event is the first time KS Wild has done an organized cleanup. But they intend for it to be the first of many, spanning a watershed that has a huge variety of ecosystems and pollution levels.
“There’s really no clear picture that sums up the entire watershed. The rogue basin is 3.3 million acres,” said Forrest English, Director of KS Wild’s Rogue Riverkeeper program.
Restoring some of those well-traveled areas will take much more than picking up trash. Trees will need to be planted along waterways to restore shade. Sediment from logging roads and riverside properties will need to be reduced.
But English says this is a start.
“Getting the trash out of here is a great benefit,” said English. “And I think it’s also really valuable to get people down to the river and connect with the river so that we all can tangibly understand what clean water means to us as a community.”