John Peach has spent decades caring for the St. Lawrence River.
Containing 20% of the world’s fresh drinking water, and contributing millions to our economy, Peach calls the river "one of the greats." It's health is his mission. It’s what he focuses on most as Save the River’s Executive Director, but for he and so many others, it's about much, much more.
“Lauren and I were raised on the river. I’ve got grandchildren here on the river,” Peach said.
Lauren is Save the River’s program coordinator. On this day, she’s joining John on a quick walk to see just how much trash has accumulated in certain sections of the river over the winter. From bags and paper, to cigarette butts, and now even masks, they all get in the river and can cause serious damage.
“Birds, fish, humans, eventually it gets into our system. It’s a problem for the whole world,” Peach said.
Save the River, an advocacy agency promoting education and research, organizes a number of trash clean ups each year, but there’s just no way to keep up.
“In two mornings last year, we had 90 volunteers, so 45 each day. We took three dump truck loads of trash just here in Clayton,” Peach added.
An overwhelming task, considering the river is 744 miles long. But John and Lauren have an idea for the Clayton area. There are two different plans specifically designed for this problem.
One is called the Litta Trap, installed straight into storm water drains, it stops even the small pieces of trash from entering water ways and the other is called the Sea Bin, which floats in the water near docks, sucking in water and filter-trapping trash.
The funding is there for a few of the drain traps, but more is needed to clean up the village.
“We’re anxious to, well, we’re encouraging funders. We’d like to see these in and running later this year,” Peach said.
Peach says there are federal grants Save the River is working to apply for, but he says he may look to team up with other riverkeepers to show the larger need. Peach says anyone interested in helping fund these systems just needs to contact the agency. He says no donation is too small.