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Show Your Love for the Fraser River: Join the New West Shoreline Cleanup

The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup™ is an annual event that helps keep our oceans, rivers, and lakes healthy. People from all across Canada join in to remove the human-made litter and garbage that was either dumped or accidently deposited into our water systems.

This year on Sunday, Sept 23, the South Dyke Road Riverfront Cleanup—to register, click on the link— will launch the beginning of New Westminster’s RiverFest, an art and environmental festival inspired by the Fraser River.

The Cleanup is a family friendly event, open to everyone who welcomes taking care of our shoreline. And this year, participants can show their love for the shoreline in a few different ways.

Previously Non-Recyclable Items

Throughout Canada, waste from cigarettes remains the top cleanup item collected. Last year approximately 350,000 were removed from our shorelines. This year—for the first time—all cigarette butts picked up from the New West cleanup will be sent to TerraCycle, a company that specializes in recycling previously non-recyclable items, such as pens, inkjet cartridges, and Tassimo coffee, tea, espresso, milk and hot chocolate T Discs.

In New Westminster, Nestlé candy wrappers and empty containers from Garnier® personal care and beauty products can be taken directly to London Drugs. TerraCycle Canada will then recycle these items into park benches, waste bins and more!

Styrofoam, another previously non-recycled item, was also one of the top items collected at last year’s cleanup. This year, with the launch of Styrofoam collection at the New Westminster Recycling Depot, other recyclable items collected during the cleanup, including Styrofoam and paint cans, will be picked up by the City Of New Westminster for recycling.

Removing litter, however, is just one way that participants can show their love for our shoreline.

Invasive Plant Pull

Kids and adults can also take part in an invasive plant pull of non-toxic plants.

This year participants can take part in removing holly, Lamium, morning glory, purple loosestrife, Scotch broom, and another patch of English ivy—check out the photo from last year’s plant pull.

Plants are considered invasive for a few reasons. One reason is because people or animals have brought them from their original natural habitat to a different one. These non-native plants become invasive depending on their adaptability—how quickly they can grow and multiply in the new habitat.

When non-native plants grow quickly, they take over and force native plants from their home. They rob them of their space, sunlight, water, and nutrients. Over time, these invasive plants change and damage the conditions of the natural habitat. For these reasons, invasive plants are carefully removed to not spread their seeds or other plant parts that can regrow from special habitats like—our Fraser River shoreline.*(Definition from For Peat’s Sake: The Story of Burns Bog, available at the NWPL)

For those of us who love the taste of blackberries, it can be hard to learn that the Himalayan blackberry is considered an invasive plant (Invasive Species Council of British Columbia). It’s dense thicket and thorny stems can be hazardous to humans and animals alike. The plant can also out-compete native shrubs with deep roots that can provide stability along the shoreline. To minimize the hazard of the plant’s long shoots, Jennifer Lukianchuk, Environmental Coordinator from the City of New Westminster, and Cindy Sale, Communication and Events Coordinator from the Fraser River Discovery Centre, are going to show their love for the shoreline by putting on safety equipment to prune off some of the more exposed shoots.

South Dyke Road Riverfront Cleanup and Invasive Plant Pull

The Shoreline Cleanup starts from 9:30 AM at the pier at Suzuki Street and S Dyke Road in Queensborough, New Westminster. Participants under 19 are welcome but must attend with their parent or guardian or bring the signed waiver with them. Waivers can be printed off the website.

Please bring boots that can get muddy and wear pants to protect yourself from the shrubs that grow nearby. Bring either a pen to help with data collection or tongs (some will be supplied by the City) to pick up litter, and snacks and water for yourself.

The South Dyke Road Riverfront Cleanup is organized by New Westminster Environmental Partners (NWEP) in partnership with the City of New Westminster and Fraser River Discover Centre.

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2 thoughts on “Show Your Love for the Fraser River: Join the New West Shoreline Cleanup”

  1. I went down for a few hours, as one of my daughters is a Brownie, and they participated.

    After collecting recyclables and garbage, I spent 90 minutes or so digging up blackberries, and with others, got a sizable chunk removed. I felt pretty good about it, until I noticed on the walk back to the car that what we had cleared was minuscule compared to how much was left behind. Blackberries were all interwoven into the forest along the river, and I doubt that manual labour is ever going to clear it out.

    Pruning the vines in September, when the plant has had all summer to build it's energy reserve, stored in the roots, probably doesn't do much good. And all the berries were gone, many probably eaten by birds, who are spreading the seeds far and wide.

    The stuff has to be ripped out, roots and all, and them someone has to come around in the spring to take out any vines that are growing off any remaining root systems.

    Maybe a herd of wild swine could do it, but they'd do damage to all the native shrubs and plants as well.

    I suspect blackberries are here to stay.

  2. David, Thank you so much for taking part in the Cleanup and for tackling some of those blackberries! __It's true that sometimes a problem can't be fixed quickly or sometimes at all. But what surprised me the most was how experienced so many people are with removing invasives and cleaning along shorelines. Did you see the huge oil barrel one couple removed, along with 4 tires? And, I heard back from the City that they were so surprised by how many invasives were removed along the whole area. So not fixed but the area definitely got a lot of care and attention that day.__By the way, a few of the brownies and their parents showed up at RiverFest to see the poster from the Cleanup at the NWEP table where I was at, so I got to hear that they had a good time and felt like they accomplished something important, which they did. And being so close to the ground, they were awesome litter detectives! I hope they and you can come out again next year.__So the blackberries may be here to stay but so are some very dedicated citizens, young and old!

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