Earth Day Clean Up

By Georgia Ackerman & Dani Davis

Abercrombie Landing

April 22, 2024–Georgia Ackerman, Cameron Baxley, Deb Burr, Dani Davis, and boating dog, Janie headed over to “Second Sandbar” this morning for an Earth Day clean up. We were encouraged to see FWC volunteers  fanned out across Abercrombie Landing picking up trash and debris at the landing when we arrived to launch our boat. Across from Abercrombie lies Second Secondbar, a dredge spoil site of the Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), It’s a popular recreational boating stop, especially in warmer months. Regrettably, not all boaters practice a “pack it in, pack it out” ethos. Some simply discard cans, bottles and other (some really gross) garbage into the wooded area adjacent to the sandbar, which is the river’s floodplain. We do periodic pick ups out there. It’s also a sampling site for microplastics.

We all spread out with our bags and buckets ready to do battle with any yellow flies.  We began filling bags with other people’s litter.  Some time later, Cameron spotted an injured turtle, a cooter, at the river’s edge. The turtle was very still and seemed not to notice us. We wondered if she was preparing to lay eggs, but the deepness of the long gashes seen on her carapace were concerning to all. Deb carefully picked her up and a terrible infection type odor confirmed our concerns. We gently loaded up the injured turtle (to be transported to Florida Wild Mammal Association) and the collected trash, to head downstream for a visual survey of the barges and other dredging equipment that contractors for the USACE had anchored there. They are dredging the channel in the Bay for navigation.  Previously, Cameron had checked on a recent staging area. She contacted the USACE to report several pieces of equipment, dredging pipes, pipe anchors and vessels  encroaching on the marsh, impacting aquatic habitat, and destabilizing and uprooting trees.

Deb testing River Watch app.

Related to the visual survey, Deb Burr, was testing a new volunteer app for our River Watch program. We’re working on creating a user friendly electronic survey form that will allow volunteers to easily report pollution, litter problems or other concerns along the river. Deb took photos and used the app to submit them with field notes. We’re excited to report that the app worked smoothly.  With the help of dedicated volunteers , we can expand River Watch and collectively monitor challenges and successes along the Apalachicola River.

Dani grabbing cans and bottles.


Happy Earth Day! Let’s keep working together to protect the water and landscape of the Apalachicola River Basin. Photo album here.

In Marianna on April 26, Outreach Director Dani Davis joined the Chipola College Science Club for a belated Earth Day cleanup at Magnolia Bridge and Yancy Landing in Marianna. David Hilton, a board of directors member, and Renae Hilton also pitched in on the Marianna clean up.

Chipola College students and community members at Magnolia Landing, Marianna
Chipola College students nd community members at Yancy Landing, Marianna

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