Freshwater Land Trust installs “Litter Gitter” at Valley Creek

We all know litter is bad for the environment, yet it continues to be a problem. Last week, Freshwater Land Trust, Osprey Initiative, River Network and the City of Birmingham installed a “Litter Gitter” in Valley Creek to help with the issue. 

What’s a Litter Gitter?

The Litter Gitter in action. Photo via Freshwater Land Trust

A Litter Gitter is an in-stream litter collection device. It’s a patented product of Osprey Initiative, an environmental contractor focused on sustainability efforts. The Litter Gitter collects litter from stormwater runoff. Initial tests indicate that the Litter Gitter has an 80 percent success rate in preventing downstream loss of floating litter.

Osprey Initiative, led by Don Bates, has installed 33 Litter Gitters in seven watersheds across the Southeast. The group is responsible for installing and maintaining the devices and separating vegetative debris and recyclables from the trash collected. 

Why Does This Matter?

Litter negatively impacts water quality—it’s not something we want in our rivers and streams. Litter cleanup also costs U.S. taxpayers $11.5 BILLION each year.

More About the Valley Creek Litter Gitter

The team that installed the Litter Gitter in Valley Creek. Photo via Freshwater Land Trust

The Valley Creek Litter Gitter will be in place for 90 days as part of a pilot program to assess the device’s effectiveness in the Birmingham area. Funding from River Network and a grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation helped to make it possible. Freshwater Land Trust hopes this is the first of many Litter Gitters to be installed in our area.

“Freshwater Land Trust prioritizes protecting water, and we are proud to partner with organizations working towards the same goal. We hope this is the first of many Litters Gitters that will improve the health of Alabama’s rivers.”

Rusha Smith, executive director, Freshwater Land Trust

How To Get Involved

Would you like to get involved with litter cleanup in our area? Jefferson County will provide the materials for you—contact them for more information

You can also support the work of Freshwater Land Trust by donating or volunteering.

Let’s keep our waterways beautiful, Birmingham!

As originally published on Bham Now. View the original story.


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The patented Litter Gitter is a tactical in-stream litter collection device used to intercept floating litter from stormwater runoff. The Osprey team handles all aspects of installing and maintaining these “trash traps” and compiles data on the items caught in them, recycling as much of the litter as possible.