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Help keep Patoka pristine

April 06, 2011
Patoka Lake is one of Southern Indiana's most popular attractions. During the week, people can be seen fishing all over the lake and in its tributaries. On the weekends and holidays, the lake is a popular place to boat, swim, ski, camp, hunt and picnic. But, it takes a lot of work to keep the lake pristine, to maintain its health and keep trash and rubbish from accumulating along its shores.

On Saturday, the Patoka Lake Watershed Steering Committee will host Patoka Lake Cleanup Day from 8 a.m. to noon, and is in need of volunteers to help with the project.

The event will be held in partnership with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and Hoosier Hills Marina in an effort to give Patoka Lake its own "spring cleaning." In the past, church groups, school clubs, Scouts, sailing clubs, hunting clubs, boating enthusiasts, neighbors and concerned citizens have helped.

"Last year, we had 57 volunteers show up," said Mark Montgomery, who serves on the committee. "We put in over 112 man-hours and gathered over 12,460 pounds of trash."

Keeping the lake clean is of utmost importance, not just for those who use the lake and the surrounding reserve for recreation, but for the thousands in parts of 11 counties who use the water from the reservoir for drinking water.

"Some of the trash comes from boaters, fishermen and people who use the lake," Montgomery said. "But a great deal of it comes from creeks and streams that flow into the lake. Some of those streams have trash thrown in them miles from Patoka, but when it rains and the creeks run out, the trash comes out, as well. This annual event is a way to get a handle on that and keep the lake, not just looking good, but to maintain clean drinking water to the area."

On Saturday, volunteers will meet at Hoosier Hills Marina, and the DNR will coordinate the cleanup effort. Volunteers may consider bringing boots. Bags, gloves and other supplies will be provided. There will be refreshments after the cleanup.

"Four hours is all we ask," a press release about the event stated. "It can be a great time to get out and enjoy Mother Nature after a long winter."

For more information, call Patoka Regional Water and Sewage District at 1-812-678-5781 or visit www.plrws.net.

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