Volunteers help needed for river clean-up

Sunday, May 27, 2007
Photo by Lee Baggett Duck River Marshall County's river cleanup is scheduled for July 14. Nearly 180 people participated in last year's river cleanup and more are needed for this year.

Event is scheduled on July 14

Marshall County leaders are joining Bedford and other counties where the Duck River flows to coordinate an annual river cleanup out of concern for the environment and the natural resource.

"We found out that Marshall County is the broken link along the Duck River and we want to fix that," County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett told several dozen volunteers interested in improving the Duck River. "We need your help to do it."

Bedford County Mayor Eugene Ray visited the Marshall County Courthouse Annex for the Tuesday evening meeting with Helen Garner of the Bedford County Shelbyville Chamber of Commerce. Both have helped co-ordinate river cleanups based in Shelbyville.

"We have been working on the river for about eight years," Ray said. "We have enjoyed the project. The fishermen have enjoyed it."

Nearly 180 people participated in last year's river cleanup and Garner reported that's up from the first year when only a handful of volunteers responded to the first call for removal of rubbish that's become caught in the river and on its banks.

When Gov. Don Sundquist was in office, the state leader participated in such events in conjunction with the "Tennessee Looks Good To Me" campaign, Garner said. Rivers and streams are part of that image improvement program.

Other counties surrounding the Duck River have similar programs, according to leaders of the Duck River Agency, a state-chartered development agency created in conjunction with construction of Normandy Dam. Marshall County businessman Freddie Stacey is chairman of the agency and he attended the organizational meeting for Marshall County's participation in the river cleanup.

River Agency Executive Director Dough Murphy suggested volunteers sign up and indicate what part of the river interests them.

"You'll have folks who show up with flat bottom boats and fishing boats," Murphy said. "Most of the litter comes from the river banks and not out of the water."

Bedford County volunteers usually work to cleanup 34-38 miles of the river, he said. The Duck River flows along 50-50 miles in Bedford County.

Liggett said there are about 20 miles of the Duck River in Marshall County.

"We feel like we can get it all," the mayor said.

"If we do it," Mayor Liggett said, "we'll have five counties" participating in the removal of rubbish from the Duck River.

Marshall County's river cleanup will be on July 14, based at Henry Horton State Park. A light breakfast is provided and a full lunch is available at noon after work that started at 7:30 a.m.

Marshall County businessman Todd Warner has volunteered to provide lunch. A picnic pavilion will be available for the volunteers, county officials said.

Heavy duty plastic trash bags will be provided, Murphy said. Duck River T-shirts will also be distributed. Volunteers may want to bring their own gloves on July 14.

Liggett sought advise from Garner about liabilities, and was told that if the event is conducted under the auspices of the county, then the state's tort liabilities limit law would offer some protection. If it's conducted by a non-profit organization, then there are no assets available if someone sued to collect damages.

Marshall County residents and their friends who are interested in participating in the cleanup may call 359-1279 during work hours Monday through Friday, or email to .

Assisting Liggett's office is Barbara Wood of the Beautification Committee and members of the county's Three Star Committee.