New trash trap gets adjustment, first cleanout

Environmental, Litter-Free Rivers, Microplastics, Sound Rivers, Stormwater Runoff, Tar-Pamlico Watershed, Water Quality

Posted on April 4th, 2024

Sound Rivers Program Director Clay Barber and Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman add buoys to the Greens Mill Run trash trap.

The Sound Rivers team headed back to Greenville this week to see how the newest trash trap fared during a significant rain event the day after its installation.

Sound Rivers Program Director Clay Barber, Pamlico-Tar Riverkeeper Katey Zimmerman and Volunteer Coordinator Emily Fritz waded back into Greens Mill Run on Tuesday to adjust the lines attaching the trash trap to the banks, add additional buoys to float the lines in the water and clean out the trash it had already collected.

“The trash trap weathered its first week of storms and is already doing a fantastic job at collecting trash in the creek,” Emily said. “We removed six pounds of trash, and the trap had only been in the water for five days!”

Greenville’s trash trap is the fifth Sound Rivers has installed on tributaries of the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico, part of Litter-Free Rivers program. Other trash traps are located on Jack’s Creek in Washington, Duffyfield Canal in New Bern, Little Rock Creek in Raleigh and Adkin Branch in Kinston.

Joined by volunteer Rebecca Reibel and her pup, Riley, the Sound Rivers crew’s main task was to move the lines attached to trees on the banks, from up high to down low.

Volunteer Coordinator Emily Fritz (left) and volunteer Rebecca Reibel adjust the lines anchoring the trash trap to the banks of Greens Mill Run.

“We initially put them up high to accommodate for what we knew would be a rising water level, but we changed them so that they’re down lower and added more line so the buoys will sit on the surface and trap more trash,” Katey said.

The water did, indeed, rise with last week’s rainfall.

“When we were originally installing the trash trap, the water was at my knees. On Tuesday, it was too deep for waders. Luckily, Clay was smart enough to bring his paddleboard, and he cleaned it out using that,” Katey said. “It goes to show how much the water level fluctuates in that creek.”

Program Director Clay Barber used his paddleboard to remove trash from the trash trap.

They also said Riley did a great job of collecting sticks and keeping a close eye on all the buoys.

Want to volunteer for Greenville’s trash trap cleanouts? Email Emily at!

Riley kept track of buoys and sticks.
The trash trap collected six pounds of trash in the five days it was in the water.
A clean trash trap is ready for more.

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