Spotlight on Adopt-A-Stream Member for Pigeon River Cleanups
In 2009, the Commission for a Clean County (CCC) recognized the Haywood Waterways Association Adopt-A-Stream program. Next month, the Adopt-A-Stream program will be in the spotlight again. On February 13, the CCC will present Tom Anspach, one of Adopt-A-Stream’s most enthusiastic partners, with an award for his cleanup efforts on behalf of the Pigeon River. When Tom was told about his award he commented, “It’s always nice to be recognized.”
Tom joined the Haywood Waterways Association Adopt-A-Stream program early in 2010 and committed to keeping a one-mile plus section of the Pigeon River upstream of the Canton Recreation Park clear of trash. Of the thirteen active Adopt-A-Steam groups, Tom is the only “one-man act”, but that hasn’t stopped him from collecting over two tons of trash. Christine O’Brien, Adopt-A-Stream Coordinator for Haywood Waterways noted, “When Tom first started out he was frequently calling me for advice, but now he seems to have his own rhythm going. Today he is a stream cleanup pro.”
Most days Tom sets off in his canoe with his trusty dog to collect trash. Collecting trash alone has not stopped Tom, but he is always looking for others to join his group. He has a great attitude and a sense of humor about his trash-collecting escapades. When asked to sum up his experience with Adopt-A-Stream over the years, he said, “I was tired of hearing everyone complain about how trashy the Pigeon River was, and I wanted to do something about it. It was worth all the bug bites and stings – every one of them. The section of river I maintain is just a little bit prettier for everyone.”
The Adopt-A-Stream Program has 14 participating organizations working to removing trash from local waterways. In 2012, 79 volunteers provided 156 volunteer-hours to remove 4.3 tons of trash from 13.75 miles of streams. Since its inception, Adopt-A-Stream partners have removed over 9.3 tons of trash from Haywood County streams. We also assisted the Lake Junaluska Assembly’s mission programs by leading two stream and lake cleanups with the summer youth mission groups.
We continue to post signage to increase awareness of local streams as well as recognize new Adopt-A-Stream partners. Eight of the major tributaries to Richland Creek and all adopted streams have signs. We continue to help Clyde and Waynesville implement the Public Education and Outreach and the Public Participation and Involvement Minimum Control Measures of their Phase II Stormwater Programs, for years five and six respectively.
If you would like to help Tom with his clean-ups or join the Adopt-A-Stream program to clean up a waterway you care about, you can contact Christine O’Brien, Adopt-a-Stream Coordinator, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 828-226-8565. You can also visit www.haywoodwaterways.org for more information on the Adopt-A-Stream Program or find us on Facebook. We’d love to have you join us!