Typically, when a bunch of people show up on an early summer Saturday morning near Lock 8 at the John Nickell Boat Ramp in southeastern Jessamine County they’re armed with boats, fishing poles and tackle boxes.
While a 24-foot pontoon boat provided the means of transportation Saturday, about 15 workers from Jessamine County and the city of Nicholasville left their poles and tackle boxes at home, opting instead for trash bags and work gloves as they took part in the annual Kentucky River Clean Sweep event.
“We travel up and down the banks and cover the county line, and we’re picking up tires, trash and whatever else we can find; we’re just cleaning up the waterway,” said Richie Horn, operations manager for the Jessamine County Environmental Services.
The Pool 8 area also offers access to the lower portions of Sugar Creek, Paint Lick Creek and Silver Creek, some of the best creeks on the river to fish for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass, according to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Horn said in past years, workers have pulled just about everything from the river and its banks on the Jessamine side.
“We’ve had years where we’ve picked up farm gates, but mostly water bottles and things like that; it just depends on what washes off,” Horn said. “Anything that we can recycle, we break it down and send in for recycling. Anything else, we send off to a landfill.”
Each year, workers haul off some 1,000 to 1,500 pounds of trash. This year’s amount came in at an estimated 2,260 pounds.
“We had tires, (automobile) gas tanks and a lot of small stuff like water bottles, cans and stuff like that,” Horn said.
The reason for the clean up is simple, environmental-services director Mike Cassidy said.
Cassidy said Jessamine County has more miles of Kentucky River frontage than any other county, and each year, employees focus their clean-sweep efforts on a different section of that river frontage.
Horn said the boat-ramp area is a popular draw for many people, which means a lot of trash will be found.
“We change and go to different locations every year,” he said. “Here, as of late, it seems like this pool here between 8 and 9 generates more debris. I think it’s because of the boat ramp. It’s a nice facility and people like to put (their boats) in. There’s more traffic here.”
Workers showed up Saturday at 8 a.m. and worked until noon. In all, workers covered about 17 miles of the Kentucky River.