Bayou Bartholomew, the world’s longest bayou, could use a little help from litter-removing volunteers Saturday, May 26.


The Bayou Bartholomew Cleanup and Watershed Discovery Day will run from 9 a.m. until noon and begin at the Dr. Curtis Merrell Access to the Bayou Bartholomew Water Trail, 5401 S. Olive St. at Pine Bluff.


The Bayou Bartholomew cleanup is a watershed stewardship event designed to immerse participants in nature, remove litter from the environment and learn a little bit about one of Arkansas’ natural wonders, according to a news release.


Bayou Bartholomew winds nearly 400 miles through Arkansas into Louisiana before it empties into the Ouachita River. Cleaning Bayou Bartholomew up will help keep the waterway from suffering a similar fate as that part of the Pacific Ocean known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, according to the release.


“According to ‘Scientific Reports,’ an international science journal, the size of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has increased to twice the size of Texas, and is composed of mostly plastic; with large amounts of glass, metal, paper and cloth also present,” said John Pennington, extension stormwater educator for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.


“According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, most of this marine debris comes directly from littering or poor solid waste management practices, such as continuing to pile trash on an already overfilled waste receptacle,” Pennington said.


Pennington said that in most urbanized watersheds, pollutants — such as litter — get washed into storm drains by rain water and carried directly into creeks, bayous and lakes untreated.


“Once trash ends up in these waterways, it causes negative economic impacts by lowering recreational quality, causing harm to wildlife, endangering water quality and marine food supplies and diminishing overall quality of life,” he said.


“Fortunately, individuals and groups wanting to improve their community, water and wildlife habitat quality, and quality of life from the bayou to the ocean can make a positive impact by joining in the effort to remove litter from both their communities and the wild places that they like to visit,” Pennington said.


Partners in the Bayou Bartholomew Cleanup and Watershed Discovery Day include Keep Arkansas Beautiful, the City of Pine Bluff, Jefferson County and the Jefferson County Solid Waste District.


To learn more about participating in the cleanup or about protecting water quality, contact Jefferson County urban stormwater agent John Pennington at jpennington@uaex.edu or visit http://www.uaex.edu.


The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without discrimination.