Twelve cubic yards of garbage have been removed from in and around Eyak Lake. The annual cleanup day organized by the Copper River Watershed Project and the Forest Service had volunteers on foot, in kayaks and diving underwater to comb the area on Saturday, July 27.
Previous Eyak Lake Cleanup Days have turned up everything from cigarette butts and Kleenex to corrugated metal, tires and a water heater. This year’s biggest find was several large blocks of styrofoam, said Shae Bowman, operations manager for the CRWP. It’s important to retrieve these blocks from the lake before they can break down into smaller pieces that might be ingested by animals, she said.
Two kayaks were joined by two Forest Service boats that allowed volunteers to spot trash in the water and to reach parts of the shoreline less accessible by foot.
This year’s cleanup day drew a total of 16 volunteers, down from 2018. Cold and rainy weather may have contributed to a lower turnout, Bowman said. More garbage has been collected in previous years, with a total of 50 cubic yards of garbage gathered during a two-day cleanup event in 2018.
“While we might have collected less debris this year compared to previous years I take it as a sign of the success of the overall clean-up effort,” wrote Bowman in an email. “To me, it means that the lake is actually getting cleaned up and staying that way which is great news!”