Release Date: 09/21/2009

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) and its many partners successfully removed thousands of pounds of debris from the shores of Elmer's Island at the Trash Bash event held this past weekend. Nearly 200 individuals dedicated their Saturday morning to the cleanup, an effort organized through the Ocean Conservancy to clean up coasts all over the globe.

LDWF joined forces with the Barataria Terrebonne National Estuary Program, Louisiana Wildlife Federation, East Ascension Sportsmans League, Grand Isle Community Development Team, US Coast Guard-Grand Isle Station, Grand Isle Port Commission, Town of Grand Isle, Shaw Coastal, Jefferson Parish Environmental, Boy Scouts of America and the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office and Detention Center to organize the event.

"The success of the cleanup is attributed to a dedicated group of volunteers including civic organizations, youth groups, and businesses to individuals and families," said LDWF Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. "With the dedication of these volunteers, we are working to keep this recreational resource clean, as well as raise awareness and promote recycling and proper trash disposal."

At the event, more than 6,000 pounds of debris was collected from a three mile stretch of beachfront property. Volunteers hauled debris to a dumpster to for disposal. A wide array of items was collected, ranging from pool liners to light bulbs.

"It was a long, hard day for the volunteers in the heat, but the sight of the overflowing dumpster reinforced the day's accomplishments and made it all worthwhile for everyone involved," described Mandy Tumlin, LDWF biologist and co-coordinator of the event.

The types and quantity of trash collected were recorded on data cards by students and staff from Nicholls State University and will be forwarded to the Ocean Conservancy, which compiles the information from all cleanups around the world. This information helps identify the source of the debris and focus efforts on eliminating or reducing it.

The department will continue the preservation and deposition process at Elmer's Island by planting cordgrass as well as installing vegetative protective fencing on the property over the course of the next few weeks. Funding for this project was provided by Daybrook Fisheries, Inc. and Omega Protein. Also, the Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office and Detention Center has volunteered to schedule monthly visits to the island to continue the litter reduction effort.

LDWF wants to remind those wishing to utilize the island to recycle all eligible items and remove all trash when you leave the beach. In addition, please consider taking one piece of trash that someone may have left behind.

For more information, contact Ashley Wethey at 225-721-0489 or awethey@wlf.la.gov.