By Jeff Dennis
The Keep Edisto Beautiful organization works in collaboration with Edisto Water Sports to organize the Sweeping of the Edisto River every year.
On Saturday, September 25 at 10 a.m., volunteers will depart from the Big Bay Creek wharf and paddle in search of trash to pick up. The date of the event is chosen based on high tide, as an outing at low tide will not allow access to the marsh where waste can hang. Kayaks are provided free of charge to volunteers, courtesy of Edisto Water Sports, which has hosted 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 affiliated with the Keep SC Beautiful group and we receive grants from Palmetto Pride to provide garbage bags and garbage collectors for volunteers,” said Moore. “The SCDNR is active in tracking all River Sweeps and we also have a partnership with the Friends of Edisto Beach State Park (FreeSpace). But the most important cog really is Lindsey Young, owner of Edisto Water Sports and Tackle, as she runs Edisto River Sweep in her business and supplies 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 having to go out in a kayak can sometimes limit the number of volunteers, but we’re hoping for a record turnout this year, and we’ll have the kayaks ready to go at no cost, ”she said. “We hope that the Edisto River Sweep mantra will one day be a culture where people target litter in the swamp on their daily boat trips, in order to keep our Edisto swamps in good condition.”
“We usually depart directly from the dock here at Edisto Water Sports and Tackle (EWT), but we’ve changed the trip for a year,” Young said. Volunteers Kate Hall and Bes Kellett took the volunteers behind Botany Bay WMA in Ocella Creek, and I think we collected a record amount of garbage that year. Personally, I love walking through this property looking for birds and generally don’t see any litter. But our magnificent waders spend a lot of time in all the swamps around the Botany Bay WMA, so it’s important that everyone is aware of this.
The next event in Edisto is the annual Rockfish Tournament, which is scheduled for October 18th.
“My husband runs the fishing tournaments, and this one is always a fun time because it’s for the local bragging rights. We seem to have the same captains from Walterboro and other small towns who come here to fish with us, ”Young said. “To say that these fishermen are competitive would be an understatement. Keeping our fishery healthy is just another reason we love to host the Edisto River Sweep every year.