Last week the Logan Martin Lake Protection Association held the kickoff to this year’s annual lake and river cleanup, to be held March 16-23.

“This is a special occasion for us,” Justin Hogeland, chairman of the 2013 LMLPA lake cleanup, said. “This is one of the most important events in our area.”

Hogeland said the bottom line when it comes to the annual cleanup is the joining together of St. Clair and Talladega County residents and municipal leaders to keep the waterways clean and safe.

Volunteer units will be working out of the five marinas around Logan Martin Lake, taking clean up positions in areas along as many parts of the lake and river basin as possible.

“All the areas require volunteers,” Hogeland said. “Even if you don’t live on the lake, you’ll probably visit it one day—and everyone is important.”

Everything from small items that can be picked up by hand to larger items like piers and pieces of docks or submerged tires used as fishing reefs will be removed by volunteers. The larger items will be located using side scan SONAR and removed by heavy equipment.

Hogeland cautioned anglers from tossing out tires at their favorite sloughs. “People love to put tires out for artificial reefs, but tires are eventually going to move,” he said.

Time is very valuable during the weeklong cleanup, Hogeland said.

“This river and this lake is an economic engine that drives the value of our houses and property.  It drives our businesses. It is the most important thing to this area—the riverside area and the Logan Martin area. We could not operate as a town without it. It’s more than just a natural resource, it is a way of life,” Riverside Mayor Rusty Jessup said. “We take this event very, very seriously. I wish we could get more people in involved in it and I wish we could increase awareness because it shows just how important this water system is to our communities and our properties and our jobs.”

On March 23 at 1 p.m. at Lakeside Landing, a picnic will be held and serve as the culmination of a week’s hard work.

 “The enormous amount of trash and debris removed by Renew Our Rivers volunteers has significantly improved our lakes and rivers,” said Matt Bowden, vice president of environmental affairs for Alabama Power. “But it is the educational program that has made long-term impacts through volunteer growth and changing individual habits.”

To take part, go to one of the following collection sites between 8 a.m. and noon on either March 16 or March 23:

Lakeside Landing contacts:

Linda Reuthemann 205-902-1196

Charles Alexander 205-913-6623

Clear Creek Marina contacts:

Paul, Elizabeth Webb 256-268-0892

Poor House Branch Marina contact:

Dick Franke 256-268-1446 / 256-322-1700

Riverside Landing (March 16)

Larry Davis 205-763-0353 / 205-441-4173

Riverside Landing (March 23)

Cliff Early 205-706-5141

Woods Surfside Marina

Mike Riley 205-525-5309 / 205-531-2372

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