This project will be an ongoing plan to target multiple sections of the Arkansas River, and will eventually become the blueprint for TORO river projects all across the United States.
The Arkansas River Basin drains 24,904 square miles and is CO’s largest river basin, yet has relatively few major tributaries.
The south Arkansas River joins the mainstream near the town of Salida. Other tributaries include Fountain Creek in Pueblo and the Purgatoire River just upstream of John Martin Reservoir. It is a popular river for anglers and sees heavy traffic from early spring to fall each year. As a result, spare fishing line resulting from anglers adjusting their rigs finds its way into the river every day. In some parts of the country, recycling programs have been implemented, largely consisting of installed “collection bins” for anglers to deposit fishing line when leaving the river. These programs have helped decrease the amount of line found in some rivers, but they are not widely implemented and are usually under funded.
The Arkansas is also frequented by river sport enthusiasts, so this river clean up will target any trash located on shore or that can be retrieved from within the river. The group will meet at Buena Vista, CO and work south towards Salida, accessing the river at designated spots. Additional time and focus will be spent at these designated river access points due to the increased traffic in these locations.
There are many types of wildlife harmed by discarded fishing line. They most frequently include birds, turtles, manatee, fish, and dolphin, however these are not the only ones affected. Almost any type of animal you can imagine can be entangled in line, or will try to consume it. A turtle in New York State was found with 560 feet of heavy-duty monofilament in its gut.
Project Lead: Benjamin Olson