2013-05-16 / News

Panel mulls other approaches after feeble Earth Day cleanup

Volunteers pick up a ton less litter than last year

The Earth Day cleanup in Jamestown has traditionally been scheduled for a single day, but next year’s event might last an en­tire week.

The Conservation Commission hopes to follow up on a plan to of­fer people extra convenience as an incentive to encourage more par­ticipation.

“Everyone’s not up to picking up garbage for six hours,” Com­missioner Patrick Driscoll said at the panel’s May 9 meeting. “Next year, we get the dumpster for a week and have people come in and pick up a bag. People could come out when they have a chance.”

Driscoll, who organized the shoreline cleanup on the Saturday before Earth Day, said he was dis­appointed by last month’s turnout and the haul.

“We got .7 of a ton,” he said. “We usually get 2 tons.”

Driscoll said he was not sure why this year fewer people came out to help pick up litter along the coasts.

“Maybe I didn’t publicize it enough,” he said, but added the rainy weather also may have kept people home.

“Just the weather probably,” Commissioner Michael Brown said. “The turnouts have been con­sistent over the years.”

Brown was unsure about chang­ing the operation to allow partici­pants a week to do the cleanup. While Driscoll’s proposal may be more convenient for residents, others enjoy the camaraderie of working together, according to Brown.

“There’s also the festive atmo­sphere of doing it as a group,” He said.

Brown and Driscoll said the cleanup along North Road seemed to have been successful, as volun­teers collected enough trash to fill 15 bags.

In the future, Driscoll said the commissioners should ask the Public Works Department to “put four or five barrels down at Taylor Point and at some of the beaches.” Even though people may litter anyway, according to Driscoll, the barrels would keep some of the trash off the shoreline. “It would be a lot easier to schlep the bar­rels out than to pick up all that gar­bage,” he said.

Brown said the commission­ers should also contact the people and companies that have adopted roads and “prod” them to organize another cleanup at the end of the summer.

In other business, Commis­sioner Anne Kuhn-Hines reported she has located two businesses with dune plugs in stock, and a third outlet that expects to have the “bare root” grasses available by the fall. One vendor has 600 plugs available at a cost of 75 cents each. She did not have fig­ures for the other supplier. The grasses are needed to restore the beach at Mackerel Cove, but have been scarce due to demand follow­ing Hurricane Sandy. Kuhn-Hines found the two suppliers while she was researching a proposal by resident Walter Boll to plant beach plums at Mackerel Cove to com­bat erosion.

The Town Council asked the Conservation Commission to eval­uate Boll’s idea, and due to her ex­pertise, the panel assigned the task to Kuhn-Hines.

She said the optimal solution would be to plant a number of va­rieties, including seaside golden­rod. Brown said the Conservation Commission should give town officials a recommendation about the types of plantings. Kuhn-Hines said she would contact Town En­gineer Michael Gray and give him the information she had collected.

With summer fast approach­ing, demand has increased for the Conservation Commission’s trail guides, which are sold at several local businesses, Commissioner Ted Smayda said. Smayda and Commissioner Kate Smith, who did not attend last week’s meet­ing, have been working on find­ing a vendor to reprint the guides. The commission’s current stock is about to run out.

“We’re entering the busy sea­son,” Smayda said. He indicated that the commission should have new trail guides in stock before the current supply is tapped.

Smayda said he spoke with Fi­nance Director Tina Collins about giving the job to Meridian Print­ing in East Greenwich.

Meridian was not the low bid­der. However, Smayda said pre­viously the difference in the bids was insignificant.

“I talked to Tina, and she said we need to justify why we’re com­ing in a little higher,” he said. “We have to justify the benefit of hav­ing them.”

Smayda told the commissioners the bid issue was “no big deal.”

Chairwoman Maureen Coleman said the panel had already voted to give Meridian the job for 61 cents per copy. “We voted,” said Smayda. “You’re authorized. We have the funding. You can incur the expense.”

Smayda said the commission has accumulated $2,425 in the ac­count set aside from selling trail guides.

The commissioners also decid­ed to defer spending about $189 for a new chain saw, which was re­quested by Chris Powell, the com­mission’s volunteer trails steward. Smayda offered to donate one.

Driscoll had proposed buying a new chain saw, but then said the purchase would be unnecessary due to Smayda’s offer. Smayda verified he has a chain saw that he doesn’t want anymore. He assured Driscoll it was “serviceable.”

The commissioners agreed to accept the free chain saw and let Powell try it out. They then au­thorized $200 to buy a new chain saw and safety equipment, if nec­essary.

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