Back Bay, Chunky River latest stops for Renew Our Rivers

Back Bay, Chunky River latest stops for Renew Our Rivers

Renew Our Rivers, Mississippi Power’s award-winning environmental stewardship program, recently held two events in different areas of the company’s service territory with volunteers collecting an estimated 4 tons of debris from area waterways.

The second event of the 2017 spring cleanup campaign featured 30 Mississippi Power volunteers beginning at the boat launch under I-110 in D’Iberville. They were joined by volunteers from Coast Electric Power Association, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and Waste Pro as a little more than 3 tons of debris, including 27 tires and several large pieces of plywood, was pulled from areas in and around the bay.

“It was a beautiful day to make a difference on these waterways,” said Helene Hair, 2017 Renew Our Rivers Back Bay cleanup coordinator. “This comes on the heels of an incredibly successful Deer Island cleanup that opened this year’s campaign. Many of our employees are very connected to these waterways. It’s an opportunity for us to go out and make a huge difference.”

A few days later, 40 volunteers from Mississippi Power and East Mississippi Electric Power Association (EMEPA) joined forces to remove debris from the Chunky River outside of Meridian.

“People don’t realize that whatever you put on the ground in this watershed ends up in this river, which ends up in the Chickasawhay River, which ends up in the Pascagoula River, which ends up in the Gulf of Mexico,” said Pearl Smith, president of the East Mississippi Foothills Land Trust — an organization dedicated to preserving the unique scenery and ecology around the Chunky River. “This is very important to us and the community as a whole. When someone sees us picking up trash, then they will often do the same, so it’s a lot about educating the public and getting a snowball effect.”

The Land Trust says that in the past decade or so recreational tourism on the Chunky — canoeing, kayaking, tubing — has increased by more than half.

“Most of our employees live right here in East Mississippi — many of us having grown up around here — so it’s important to our company and to our people individually to promote good stewardship of this entire watershed, especially as more and more people realize what a great asset this river is to our region,” said Tommy Jackson, Newton area manager. “This watershed from the Chunky all the way to the Gulf parallels the footprint of our service territory, so we at Mississippi Power feel a special responsibility to keep these waters attractive.”

Some of the items collected from the river include boards, rafts, tires, old chairs and even a turbine vent, like those on top of a house.

So far this spring, nearly 5 tons of debris has been collected in three events.

Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for nearly 187,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power ranked first in the Southeast Electric Exchange’s 2016 Safety Performance Reports and is consistently recognized as an industry leader in reliability, customer service and safety. Visit our websites at www.mississippipower.com and www.mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on TwitterLinkedInGoogle+ and YouTube.