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NEWS | June 5, 2019

Volunteers clean up the bay

By Senior Airman Delaney Gonzales 633d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

More than 30 volunteers came together to support the Clean the Bay Day event at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia, June 1.

The event was a community outreach initiative designed to aid in the preservation of the base’s environment by removing harmful materials from JBLE’s bodies of water and shorelines.

“The immediate impact of cleanup is making a safer habitat for animals and ensuring that the debris collected will not reach the Chesapeake Bay,” said Joanna Bateman, 733d Civil Engineer Division Environmental Element pollution prevention and planning branch chief. “Shoreline litter can be harmful to wildlife and a source of water pollution.”

“Often times, items like plastic bags are mistaken for food by marine animals and can be deadly if ingested or can cause entanglement of wildlife,” added Bateman. “Litter can clog wetlands and reduce their effectiveness as buffers for natural runoff and as shelter for wildlife.”

The team of volunteers were able to successfully collect more than 231 pounds of waste and recyclables from JBLE local waterways to include the James River, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay and Eustis Lake.

“Recyclable materials were separated from trash and turned into the JBLE Solid Waste Recycling Center for recycling,” Bateman said.

Some volunteers canoed through Eustis Lake to collect trash that couldn’t be reached from the shoreline.

“There were twelve volunteers gathering trash via canoes in Eustis Lake,” Bateman added. “The primary volunteers for cleanup around Eustis Lake included members of the Fort Eustis Boy Scout Troop 45. This troop has supported cleanup efforts for numerous years.”

The volunteer effort covered an estimated four miles of shoreline and lake boundary helping to preserve the environment for future generations.

“[Fort Eustis] and surrounding cities and towns have a profound impact on the health of the Chesapeake Bay,” Bateman concluded. “Clean the Bay Day is an annual opportunity to come together as a community with one common goal aimed at achieving clean water in the tributaries, streams and rivers running into the Chesapeake Bay.”

For more information regarding upcoming volunteer opportunities with the 733d CED Environmental Element, contact (757) 878-4123.