By Jeff Dennis
The Keep Edisto Beautiful organization works in conjunction with Edisto Water Sports to put on the Edisto River Sweep each year.
On Saturday, September 25 at 10 a.m., volunteers will depart from the dock on Big Bay Creek and paddle in search of garbage to collect. The date of the event is selected based on having a high tide, since a low tide outing will not allow access into the marsh where trash can get hung up. The kayaks are provided for free to the volunteers, courtesy of Edisto Water Sports, which has been hosting Edisto River Sweep for many years.
Kelley Moore is the Executive Director of the Keep Edisto Beautiful organization, and works for the Town of Edisto. “We are an affiliate of the Keep S.C. Beautiful group, and we get grant money from Palmetto Pride in order to provide trash bags and trash grabbers for volunteers to have,” said Moore. “SCDNR is active in tracking all of the River Sweeps, and we have a partnership with the Friends of Edisto Beach State Park (FreeSpace) too. But really the most important cog is Lindsey Young, who owns Edisto Water Sports and Tackle, because she heads up Edisto River Sweep at her business and provides the kayaks.”
According to Young, the river sweep averages about 12 volunteers per year.
“Our highest number was the year we had 17 volunteers. I think the fact that you have to go out in a kayak can sometimes limit the number of volunteers, but we are hoping for a record turnout this year, and we will have the kayaks ready to go at no charge,” she said. “We hope that the Edisto River Sweep mantra will be a culture one day where folks will target trash in the marsh during their everyday boat trips, in order to keep our Edisto marshes looking sharp.”
“We usually leave right from the dock here at Edisto Water Sports and Tackle (EWT) but we did modify the trip one year,” said Young. Volunteers Kate Hall and Bes Kellett took the volunteers behind Botany Bay WMA into Ocella Creek, and I think we retrieved a record amount of trash that year. Personally, I love riding through that property looking for birds, and I don’t usually see any litter there. But our beautiful wading birds spend plenty of time in all the marshes around Botany Bay WMA, so it’s important for everyone to be mindful of that.”
The next event at Edisto is the annual Redfish Tournament, which is scheduled for Oct. 18th.
“My husband runs the fishing tourneys, and this one is always a fun time because this is for the local bragging rights. We seem to get the same Captains from Walterboro and other smaller towns that come here to fish with us,” said Young. “To say that these anglers are competitive would be an understatement. Keeping our fishery healthy is just another reason that we love hosting the Edisto River Sweep each year.”