Recent news that several pieces of debris hazardous to various watersheds — ships wrecked on beaches, cars buried in the ground, fences slumped into rivers — have been removed is encouraging for several reasons.
The program headed up by Kenai Peninsula Borough resource planner John Czarnezki had limited funds and a long list of projects. But thanks to individuals and volunteer groups like Trout Unlimited, Safari Club International and the Kenai Peninsula Stream Watch, only a piece of the funding has been used.
Seven projects for the price of two — that’s bang for your buck.
So hats off to Czarnezki and those countless others who made the program work so cost-effectively.
We think it’s important to do this sort of work. Each spring, residents come out of hibernation to help clean up the ditches and roadways littered with trash hidden by the winter’s snow.
That effort is cathartic both visually and for the health of the area. That same philosophy is driving the debris clean up.
No matter what we do there are always side effects. Decades ago it clearly wasn’t given a second thought that a river shouldn’t have a jetty in it made of construction debris. But now we know better and we should make it a priority to fix these errs of long ago.
We also hope it helps in another regard — sometimes when you see your neighbor putting a fresh coat of paint on the house or doing a little extra yard work to spruce the place up, you get motivated too. Maybe the debris removal program will do the same for others on the Peninsula.
We’d hope residents report the debris they’ve seen out and about. Maybe some are the cause of such debris and think twice about letting a project that isn’t a problem sit unmitigated and become one.
We’re now in the habit of cleaning — the Kenai River is healthier, the roadsides are getting attention, recycling programs are seeing more use — and we’d like to see it continue. When you have a clean backyard, you have more of a reason to keep it clean, and another reason to be proud of where you live.
In short: A big round of applause to those who made these projects happen. Let’s keep the effort going and hopefully, someday, we’ll have no more projects on our list.