River rehab | VailDaily.com

River rehab

Tamara Miller
Daily File Photo Volunteers from the Sonnenalp participate in the Eagle River clean-up Saturday in Minturn.

EAGLE COUNTY – Calling all river lovers: The 2004 Eagle River Cleanup is almost here. Organizers are hoping 400 volunteers are willing this year to give a little time to keep the county’s principal waterway clean. More than 300 volunteers turned up last year, according to Caroline Bradford, executive director of the Eagle River Watershed Council, which organizes the annual cleanup. Each volunteer group will have a team leader.

Keeping the Eagle River clean takes constant vigilance and stopping pollution will likely take a national movement, Bradford said.”It takes people who feel a connection to that creek that flows through their neighborhood,” Bradford said. “We have to take responsibility for ensuring that the environment is safe. Unfortunately, it is nobody else’s responsibility, it’s everybody responsibility.”One of the goals of this year’s event is to instill in residents that sense of stewardship for their neighborhood river, Bradford said. Caring for the Eagle River shouldn’t be just an annual event. Local residents should get a sense of how the river is doing and how it changes, whether it be the algae level in the water or the health of plants on the river banks, she said. “I want people to be so familiar with different sections of the river that are their favorite that they notice these changes,” Bradford said.

Volunteers in the past have picked some strange items out of the river. Everything from a TV remote control to a polyester leisure suit has been pulled out, earning the lucky discoverer the annual Golden Toilet Award. The Golden Toilet Award will be given out again. Organizers also will have prizes for team leaders and children.The Eagle River Cleanup began in 1996 and at that time was organized by Doug Ross, Tom Gaylord and Ken Neubecker of the Eagle Valley chapter of Trout Unlimited, said Neubecker, who was the president of the chapter at the time. The Eagle River Watershed Committee became a partner in 1997. The watershed council formed in 2000 and took over coordination of the cleanup in 2001. Since then, the effort has nearly doubled in size and attendance, Neubecker said.

Staff Writer Tamara Miller can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 607, or tmiller@vaildaily.com. ==========================================

When: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sept. 19Volunteer party: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Brush Creek Pavilion, EagleTeam leader rally

Tamara Miller is a staff writer for the Vail Daily. She can be reached at tmiller@vaildaily.comVail Colorado

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