Town of Bluffton leaders and staff are asking residents to help clean up the May River, her shores, nearby streets and parks of the Bluffton Historic District from 9 to 11:30 a.m. April 30. There is no registration; volunteers may simply show up, ready to help.
“The May River is the crown jewel of Bluffton,” Mayor Lisa Sulka said. “The river’s existence is a major component to Bluffton’s identity, essence and joy. This event is an opportunity when the Bluffton community can take care of her in return for all the beauty, she brings us.”
Volunteers will meet at Oyster Factory Park located at the end of Wharf Street.
Boats and kayaks are needed to assist with cleanup efforts. Please arrive at 8:30 a.m. to allow time for setup.
Coffee and hot chocolate will be provided by Corner Perk.
All supplies, including gloves, bags, vests and water will be provided by the Town of Bluffton, American Rivers, Palmetto Pride, Keep Beaufort County Beautiful and Beaufort County Solid Waste & Recycling.
Personal supplies such as sunscreen, bug spray and water will be provided. Snacks and lunch will be provided by the Town of Bluffton and its Police Department.
Kim Jones, the town’s director of projects and watershed resilience, said each year this event grows in the number of participants and organizational partners.
“It is very rewarding to see students, scout groups, civic organizations, businesses and nearly a dozen official partners join the Town to make a positive impact on the May River, the streets and areas which surround her,” Jones said. “This is truly a collective community effort.”
Education and outreach play an important role in improving water quality in our local watersheds, including the May River Watershed. As volunteers return from cleaning up our community, educational booths provided by Lowcountry Stormwater Partners, the Port Royal Sound Foundation, The Outside Foundation, and i2 Recycle will be available for them to visit. This is an important component because Beaufort County’s large expanses of salt marsh, tidal rivers and deep channels provide for a high level of biodiversity, allowing wildlife such as oysters, dolphins and cobia, to flourish. This also means that the ecosystem is sensitive to the environmental pollutants found in the stormwater that drains into rivers and streams, carrying pollutants with it.
The Town of Bluffton is again partnering with M.C. Riley Elementary School to host the annual School Participation Challenge. Students and their families will have the opportunity to take part in the cleanup and waste reduction efforts provided by i2 Recycle. Coastal Kingdom will be partnering to assist the Town with the School Participation Challenge and participants will be given a reward at the end of the school year.
In the past 20 years, volunteers, community partners and Town staff members have removed approximately 50,000 pounds of litter, debris, discarded appliances and abandoned boats from the May River and Bluffton Historic District.