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Cleanup in Chilliwack will focus on 10-km of the Fraser River

For this year
For this year's Fraser River cleanup they'll be headquartered on Gill Road and fanning out to various 'hotspots' along a 10-km stretch of the river.
— image credit: CHILLIWACK PROGRESS FILE

The Fraser River's riparian zone is extremely sensitive fish and wildlife habitat.

So keeping accessible areas around Chilliwack unsullied by toxic and illegally dumped garbage is crucial.

Fraser Valley Illegal Dumping Alliance is planning another river cleanup on Saturday, March 19.

"Our event has taken on an educational theme, and through the Alliance, the word continues to spread that illegal garbage dumping won’t be tolerated," said one of the co-organizers, Kevin Raffle of Woodtone.

Part of the message is for anyone continuing to dump in these back country areas that they will eventually get caught.

"You wonder, how can people do this? We want to take these areas back."

With increasing numbers of people reporting polluters on the RAPP line, charges and fines have been levied in recent years.

"Everyone has a cell phone these days, so the more calls and reports that come in to the Conservation Officers Service, the more people will get caught," said Raffle.

"We don't want these areas shut down. We want people to use and enjoy them, and become part of the care-taking by reporting illegal dumping."

They're doing something slightly different for the upcoming cleanup.

Instead of focusing on one spot along the Fraser River, like Peg Leg or Gill Road, this cleanup they'll be headquartered on Gill Road and fanning out to various "hotspots" along a 10-km stretch of the river.

"We are so incredibly proud of FVIDA and the tremendous work we've been doing to curb illegal dumping along the Fraser, in our back country, and on our streets," says Riverkeeper Joe Daniels, one of the organizers.

They've worked hard with partners to send a strong message to mindless dumpers who show disregard for the mighty Fraser.

"There are scores of people in our communities who love recreating in these areas, and plenty of local wildlife who depend on them for food and habitat.

"We owe it to everyone, including future generations, to make sure these places stay safe, clean, and accessible for all to enjoy," said Daniels.

Last year's cleanup brought together more than 270 community volunteers to remove 10 tonnes of toxic trash from the Fraser River's riparian zone. This year they'll have HQ at Gill Road, and go from there, also collecting data as part of the Vancouver Aquarium’s Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.

The annual cleanup on the Fraser River at Gill Road, at Gill Road Bar is a family-friendly, rain or shine event starting at 10 a.m. on March 19. The Vancouver Aquarium's AquaZone and a group of costumed heroes from Superheroes of Victoria will a fun and educational component, and there will be coffee and refreshments. Finally, the clean-up volunteers will enjoy a free community BBQ starting at 1 p.m.

Volunteers are being asked to wear gumboots, a refillable mug or water bottle and gloves, if possible.

For more details about the cleanup:  http://www.fraserriverkeeper.ca/9th_annual_clean_up or go to http://www.shorelinecleanup.ca/en/cleanup/event/spring2016/fraser-river-gill-rd

To report illegal dumping (polluters or poachers) 1-877-952-7277

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