Bluffton to hold annual river and beach cleanup this weekend. Here’s how you can help

Bluffton residents and business owners will try to rid the May River and surrounding watersheds of trash and debris Saturday as part of the 31st statewide Annual Beach Sweep/River Sweep.

This will be Bluffton’s 12th year participating in the state’s largest one-day, volunteer, litter clean-up of beaches, marshes and waterways, according to a news release. The event, held by the Town of Bluffton, Lowcountry Stormwater Partners, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium and the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, will be held at the Oyster Factory Park from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

“Beaufort County’s waterways are rich in marine life and greatly contribute to the Lowcountry culture,” Beth Lewis, River Sweep event coordinator and the Town’s water quality program administrator, said in the release. “This event provides residents an opportunity to be environmental stewards of our most cherished natural resources.”

The cleanup will take place in the Bluffton Historic District and along the May River. Necessary supplies for the cleanup — including gloves, bags, sunscreen — will be provided by event partners, according to the release. The Hardeeville and Bluffton Walmart locations will provide free lunches to volunteers, and Corner Perk is offering a cup of May River Blend coffee before the event.

Volunteers will keep records of the type and amount of litter collected, which will be added to the statewide data and the Ocean Conservancy’s worldwide database.

“The data helps those in charge of environmental protection to identify the sources of litter so they can make recommendations, which may help prevent and reduce the amount of litter polluting our waterways,” the release said.

Along with the cleanup, several organizations will also have educational displays to show how to improve water quality in local watersheds, and the Town of Bluffton is offering a “free gift” to all volunteers.

Registration for the event is not necessary, but volunteers who want to bring their own boat or kayak should arrive by 8:30 a.m. to allow time for setup.

A reporter for The Island Packet covering local government and development, Kacen Bayless is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. In the past, he’s worked for St. Louis Magazine, the Columbia Missourian, KBIA and the Columbia Business Times. He graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism degree with an emphasis in Investigative Reporting from the University of Missouri in 2019.