Trash abudanza

Published 10:28 am Monday, March 21, 2022

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Spirit of Moonpie and I spent March the 14th through the 16th on the Blackwater below Franklin. The water was tinted, 48 degrees, very fast and slightly high at about 1 foot on the USGS gauge at Franklin. Air temps ranged from 36 to 71 degrees. ’Bout as perfect weather one could ask for.

The fishing on this trip was… fair. I caught a few shad, though it was definitely not fast and furious… at least for me. I fished a lot for rockfish but caught only one… on the last day at the last minute of the last hour. But it was a nice one at nearly 6 pounds. I caught the rock vertical jigging a 3/4-ounce blade bait. That thing really put up a fight on ultralight tackle!

The main mission on this trip was to check out the Route 189 Bridge project… and that was coming along nicely. I even got to witness the first span across the river getting put into place. That was definitely pretty cool to see. It was very interesting watching how they handed that span from one crane to another crane on the other side of the river. Then in tandem, they raised the span into place. It was truly a demonstration of coordination using giant machinery. However, after watching that it became painfully obvious my primary mission was going to have to change.

That mission changed to picking up trash. The last big rain cleaned out the city of Franklin’s ditch system… especially the southside ditches. It has been a long time since I saw that much trash AND garbage in the river. Yes, garbage. Much of what I picked up was not from the normal litterbugs that plague the city but was household garbage — chicken packaging, egg cartons and potato chip bags just to name a few items. I even pulled in a large rubber raft that came out of the city of Franklin canal to the river! So, someone or some homeowners upstream on those southside ditches are dumping their garbage into the ditch. It looks like the city could find out who is doing this. I practically filled up the boat, and there was four times that much stuff I could not get to. Of course, I also picked up the normal lot of basketballs and assorted other balls of various sizes that come from those Southside ditches. I also saw so much trash back in the swamp that surrounds that stormwater canal it would fill up a dump truck. 

While I hope the city can find out who is dumping into the city’s canals, I have hoped for that for the past 22 years, and it has not stopped yet. Sure would be nice to be able to go out on the rivers and not have to see all that. But I doubt that will ever happen in my lifetime on the two rivers we call the Blackwater and Nottoway.

Jeff Turner is the Blackwater Nottoway RiverGuard. To contact him about river issues, send him an email at He can also be followed on the Blackwater Nottoway RiverGuard Facebook page. Just type in “Blackwater Nottoway RiverGuard” in the search field on Facebook.