Our Story – Our story begins in the drainage ditches of Hammond, LA and the swamps of Manchac, LA where our owner and founder, Don Bates, grew up. He and his brother, Kiley, knew every ditch in Hammond from their pursuits of crawfish, minnows, frogs, turtles and amphiumas. Additionally, countless hours were spent at the Bates family camp in Manchac. The camp was built by their grandfather, who was a state and federal game warden, in the mid 1940’s and was located 5 miles from the nearest road on Pass Manchac between Lake Maurepas and Lake Ponchartrain. The camp was in the middle of a large swamp teeming with wildlife. They had free reign to roam anywhere their hip boots or pirogues could take them. Coming from a family of commercial fisherman, conservationist and swampers, Don recognized early on the symbiotic relationship that should exist between man and nature, minimizing our footprint and respecting the fact that nature always wins. These concepts were the beginning of the foundation for Osprey Initiative. The Osprey Initiative story officially began in the fall of 2017. Don was participating in a volunteer cleanup with his employer, Thompson Engineering, and the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) of the Maple Street Tributary of One Mile Creek. One Mile Creek is part of the Three Mile Creek watershed predominantly located in Mobile, AL. The tributary was heavily impacted with stormwater conveyed litter. Over 200 bags of litter were removed that day from a 400-yard section of the canal. As with most water-based litter cleanups, MBNEP’s Executive Director, Roberta Swann, lamented that all the litter would return after a few rains. Don had been thinking of an economical, tactical solution to prevent this very issue. His idea was discussed on the banks of the Maple Street tributary, and everyone thought it was a great idea. An initial prototype was built and deployed behind a friend’s house to get the layout right. The City of Mobile, AL gave their approval for a test site and the first Litter Gitter deployment took place at Maple Street. Results were astounding. The Litter Gitter stopped more than 90% of the stormwater conveyed litter. With confidence in the concept, Osprey Initiative, LLC was formed and away we went. Don once said that the day he gets to put on his hipboots and go to work was going to be a great day. After 18 great years with Thompson Engineering, he left an executive position to pursue his passion. As of April 2019, he gets to put on his hipboots every day!