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Clean Jordan Lake to host cleanup days

Posted Monday, September 26, 2011

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Pittsboro, NC - Clean Jordan Lake (CJL) is planning a massive, three-day attack on trash along the shoreline during the last week of September as part of NC Big Sweep activities taking place across the state. The organizers still need volunteers for the general public cleanup day on Oct. 1.

Fran DiGiano, CJL co-founder and event organizer says, “If we can get as many volunteers as last year, we may reach our goal of restoring an entire four-mile stretch of shoreline close to its natural state. This effort was started three years ago and, to date, has involved over 700 volunteers and resulted in removal of 1,300 tires and 2,000 bags of trash.”

The corporate clean-up effort begins on Wednesday, Sept. 28, when employees of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will return to the lake for their second annual service day with CJL. DiGiano says, “The corporate support to clean up the lake is an integral part of reaching our goals. They will remove items like tires, bottles, cans, propane tanks, rugs, Styrofoam, baby dolls, and even basketballs that have accumulated on a remote peninsula of shoreline on the Haw River Arm. Stormwater runoff from the Haw River has brought much of this trash to the lake since it was filled in the early 1980s.”

“In addition to the stormwater-driven trash,” DiGiano adds, “many recreational users have discovered fishing access points and beaches outside of the state park land where they unfortunately leave behind fishing lines, bait boxes, beer bottles, cans, plastic bags and even diapers.” On Friday, Sept. 30, about 80 employees of Biogen Idec will spend their service day removing trash from several of the worst recreational sites.

CJL will also host a general public trash clean-up day on Saturday, Oct. 1, beginning at 9 am. Last year, approximately 200 volunteers removed 600 tires and 700 bags of trash from a one-mile length of the Wilderness Island shoreline that forms one side of the Haw River Arm and also traps stormwater-driven trash. This year’s volunteers will work their way further south along this section. The 2011 public event is partly funded by a grant from the Boat U.S. Foundation to attract more boaters to CJL clean-up events.

“This year’s cleanup will require a flotilla of boats to ferry volunteers because the trashed shoreline is now too far from the access road to make walking practical,” says DiGiano. Crosswinds Marina and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Jordan Dam have donated their time and a fleet of pontoon boats to ferry about 120 GSK volunteers to and from this site. The Piedmont section of the N.C. Coast Guard Auxiliary, the N.C. Sea Cadets, and various fishing clubs are also bringing boats to help with ferrying during the public clean-up event.

The Chatham County Solid Waste and Recycling Division will provide trash disposal, as well as promotional support. NC Big Sweep and the NC Department of Transportation will provide bags and gloves.

The effort also involves collaboration with the newly-formed Jordan Lake Environment Education Center. This organization will direct volunteers in cleaning up fishing access points at the north end of Jordan Lake along Martha’s Chapel Road and Route 751. It will also participate in CJL’s new Adopt-A-Shoreline Program modeled after the state’s Adopt-A-Highway program.

All details about the effort, including volunteer sign-up, are available at

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