River Clean Up Challenge saves area waterways and wildlife
Stan Floyd, of American Airboats and Airboat Rides Inc. has a passion for making area waterways a better place to be for not only his business and the community, but for wildlife as well.
During many of his tours, he has listened to tourists and passengers who come to view the natural beauty the area has to offer. But, through this he has heard people talk about the amount of garbage along the waterways and has become increasingly aware the waterways have become excessively littered with debris from past hurricanes and people dumping their unwanted garbage. Recently, he gathered an abandoned refrigerator from the muddy river bank. but knew it could not stop there.
Tired and heartbroken about the condition of the Sabine River, Floyd with the help of others decided to do something about it. Not only would they work to clean up banks, but also the swamps and local estuaries.
Estuaries form a transition zone between river environments and ocean environments and are subject to both marine influences, such as tides, waves and the influx of saline water. They have riverine influences, such as flows of fresh water and sediment. The inflows of both sea water and fresh water provide high levels of nutrients in both the water column and sediment which makes estuaries among the most productive natural habitats in the world.
“The litter that plagues our swamps and rivers not only adversely affects the local residents but also the local wildlife that has to live throughout these unflattering remnants,” Floyd said. “ People at local parks throw their trash into the river even when there are trash cans nearby, which regrettably cause long damaging environmental effects. “
In an effort to clean up the waterway, Floyd teamed up with multiple local agencies including Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries, Tom Cormier of the Lake Charles Power Squadron, Texas Parks & Wildlife Game Warden, Orange County Sheriff’s Office, Wetlands Transportation and American Airboat employees.
The dedicated workers collected enough trash to fill a 30-yard dumpster which was donated by Waste Management.
Not all items collected were big items, but things such as bottles, cans, tires, barrels, old coolers, shoes, plastics, fishing lures and line were put right where they needed to be — in the trash.
Approximately 18 refrigerators were picked up along the river banks as well as the connecting estuaries. Roughly 50 tires were painstakingly picked up, some of which had been wrapped around tree trunks and causing serious damage to the adjacent wildlife.
Floyd, a disabled, combat veteran, also enlisted the help of Edwin E. Peddy, Beaumont Regional Supervisor of Veterans Securing America. VSA is a Security company who employs returning solders in need of civilian employment.
It is the hope of all involved, people will take the time to enjoy their efforts, but also keep the area clean for future generations.
“This first phase of the Sabine River Cleanup may not be the solution to all of the littering but it is more than a head start,” Floyd said.
Floyd plans to make it an annual event and would like anyone else wanting to make a difference for the next phase of the River Cleanup Challenge to contact Captain Sean Adams at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Floyd likes to state his favorite quote from Dr. Seuss in instances such as this.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not,” he said.
Floyd wants to thank his volunteers but also businesses who donated supplies or assisted in the clean-up efforts.
They are Keep Orange County Beautiful, Market Basket Mauriceville, H-E-B Orange, Gopher Industrial Supply, Childs Building Supply, Waste Management, Wetlands Transportation, and Little Cesar’s Pizza in Orange.
“We hope that this process can be the start of something special,” Floyd said.
Stan Floyd along with employees of American Airboats, Inc. and volunteers work to clean up the waterways during the River Clean Up Challenge. During their efforts, they collected 18 refrigerators and about 50 tires along with enough trash to fill a 30-yard dumpster.