Grants Pass man Jason Skrock has been fishing the Rogue River for years, but he’s been noticing more trash of late and is now dedicating part of his time to picking it up.
“I see garbage everywhere I go and I just get tired of it,” he said.
He realized how big of an issue it was when floating the river with a friend, “I noticed trash for miles.”
Now, using his own boat and supplies, Skrock has pulled various items from the river – including tires, tables, a motherboard, plenty of wrappers and cups, and even a car’s bumper… but that’s not all.
“There was a bag of human waste. I’m assuming it was urine, it smelt like urine. I got a little on my pants and I wasn’t too happy about that – but we got it out of there,” said Skrock.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality says despite the garbage Skrock is seeing – the Rogue River has consistently ranked well on its report card.
“It has been consistently good to excellent. These report cards come out each fall, but, it does underscore that this is a great, high-quality resource that we want to protect and it’s just nice to know that someone is out there protecting that water quality,” said DEQ Public Affairs Specialist Dylan Darling, says the scores on the water quality report cards, called the Oregon Water Quality Index, are determined by water quality sampling to see what is in the water, such as chemical levels and sediments.
However, the agency still encourages local clean-ups and says people should refrain from illegally dumping.
“Illegal dumping along the river, such as the Rogue River, has the potential to impact the many uses people enjoy such as boating, swimming, fishing. Trash in and along the river can impact fish and wildlife, as well,” said Darling.
Skrock hopes he can inspire others in the community to pitch in and help, whether they dedicate the time like him or just grab an item or two when they see one.
“There’s oil – I saw fertilizer containers. It’s stuff that doesn’t belong in the river. You know? It’s not biodegradable. There are plastics and oil and tires,” said Skrock.
He says he will stay out here cleaning the river for as long as it takes.
If you’re interested in lending a hand in the river clean-up process, you can find Skrock along Highway 99 near Birdseye Creek Road in Rogue River.
If you’re looking for somewhere to discard your trash or other items, a list of different dumps is listed here.
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