Something Fishy in the Water

By Lillian Lovingood on May 26, 2017.

A project that I have been in charge of since I began my AmeriCorps term at Asheville GreenWorks has been our Trash Trout Project.  The Trash Trout is a litter entrapment device that I have been working to help install in the Hominy Creek which is the second largest tributary that flows into the French Broad River.  The Trash Trout was inspired by the Trash Booms we installed in four tributaries in western North Carolina, and is a device with a similar objective, but a different design.  The purpose of GreenWorks’ litter entrapment structures is to mitigate the amount of litter and plastics entering our local waterways.

Perhaps the most unique feature of the Trash Trout is its innovative design.  While other trash entrapment devices are made from specially constructed and designed High Density Polyethylene and Aluminum, the Trash Trout Project takes a more creative approach by using a recycled pontoon boat is its floating base.  After obtaining a pontoon boat, we scrapped the upper part of the boat and created a floating base, and then ordered six large BruteBooms to attach to the back of the base and guide trash into the trap.  A gate at the front of the Trout keeps trash from flowing down the creek and into the French Broad River, and makes it more accesible to be cleaned out by volunteers.

Before the Trash Trout could be closer to being installed in the Hominy Creek, myself and my co-workers decided that it would be best to test out the device.  On a warm April day we decided to do just that and temporarily install our device below the Craven Street Bridge in the French Broad River.  After many hours of paddling against the flow of the river and tediously leading the bulky pontoon with a smaller boat, we were finally able to attach the Trout with all of its necessary components.  From here we had to make sure that the Trash Trout would live up to what we had all expected it to do-collect trash!  From the top of the bridge, myself and a GreenWorks intern emptied 200 tennis balls into to French Broad.  With the Trash Trout slightly downstream from the bridge, we could only hope that our device would do its job, and we were not disappointed!

Though there is much more work to be done to finalize the Trout, I am happy to say that I was a part of the pre-(semi)permanent installation process to ensure that the Trout would do all that we had hoped it to do.  I now await the day when we are able to install it in the Hominy and it can live up to all of its potential!