County-Wide Earth Day Litter Cleanups!

This Saturday you can join White Oak-New Riverkeeper in showing your appreciation for our beautiful Earth and protect your local rivers by participating in one the many Earth Day Litter Cleanups in Onslow County. You can find WONRA at two of these events.


Keep Onslow Beautiful will be heading the litter cleanup at Deppe Park 102 New Bern Hwy, Maysville, NC. This is the area where I will be participating. You may register through


Second Wind Eco Tour & Yoga will be heading the litter cleanup at 1572 Hammocks Beach Road, Swansboro, NC. You must pre-register at Must pre-register – 910-325-3600.


WONRA hosts a litter cleanup event once a month as well, so keep in touch!

– Nicole L. Triplett, White Oak-New Riverkeeper



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New River Cleanup

djt_8737It happened again, but it couldn’t have happened on a nicer day. We had a cleanup on the New River on Oct 15. We had several new volunteers, which makes me very happy. At least one of the volunteers is in the habit of picking up trash on all of his trips. That is always nice to hear. Some people can’t attend an organized cleanup, but that doesn’t mean they can’t make a difference. Every piece of trash you remove from the environment is one less piece of trash that is damaging our environment.

Thanks to everyone for coming out and making a difference. Also, don’t forget about Operation Medicine Drop this coming Saturday (Oct 22).

Doug Toltzman

p.s. There are more photos on our Meetup page.

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White Oak River Trash Pickup

2016-07-02_Clip50Six industrious volunteers converged at Bicentennial Park in Swansboro around 09:00 on July 2, 2016. We collected a lot of trash (no surprise, there). In just 2 hours, we picked up about 6 large bags of trash and some larger items.

2016-07-02_Clip51Four of the volunteers were already on my list of invitees to the volunteer appreciation party. I added two new people to the list. I had hoped to add a bunch more.

For those of you who really wanted to help out but just couldn’t make it, I’ve got good news. We’re going to have another cleanup on the 16th of July. The next one will be on the New River, downstream from Rhodestown Road. There will be a lot of trash to pick up, but we’ll have shade, so it won’t be so hot. Please check out our Meetup group for details. If you’re a Meetup member (you can join for free) you can RSVP there. If you don’t want to join Meetup and you want to help out, please get in touch with Nicole or one of our directors.

2016-07-02_Clip49I encourage everyone to join us. It can be a messy job, but it’s not difficult and it is really important work. If you don’t have a boat, let us know and we’ll see if we can get you into a boat. If you volunteer for even one event this year, you’ll be invited to our volunteer appreciation party. Our most active volunteer is going to get something cool. I’m not sure what, yet, but I’m sure it will be better than getting hit on the head by a falling pine cone.

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An Update on Plastic

I think most of us knew that plastics are not really biodegradable; not like a banana peel, anyway.  This article from the Christian Science Monitor spells out the problem. It also mentions some new technologies that might help in the future and emphasizes that we must do all we can to keep plastics out of the water.

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Cleanup with the New River Roundtable

DJT_8159Nicole Triplett (the Riverkeeper), Chris Luffman (award winning river cleaner), and I joined some people from Sturgeon City and the City of Jacksonville Stormwater department to collect some of the trash from the New River.

We put in at Sturgeon City (new Wilson Bay) and we paddled towards the bypass bridge. We collected a lot of plastic; lots of plastic bags, pallet wrap, huge sheets of plastic and the usual polystyrene cups, plastic water bottles, etc.

DJT_8168Chis is not pictured because he took a different route when he saw me take out my camera. He found some unusual items and made multiple trips to offload all the trash he collected, which may be why he is an award winning river cleaner.

It was a really nice day to be on the river. The sun was shining, the temperature was near perfect, and the winds were calm. If I hadn’t had other plans, I might have stayed on the river for most of the afternoon.

DJT_8172I’m sure there are a lot of people who think picking up trash is more like work than fun, but it can be more fun than work; especially when you go out with a group of friendly volunteers. You get to paddle and enjoy the water, but you’ve also got a mission and you return with a sense of accomplishment.

DJT_8155There is always something to see, and often we find interesting junk. The most important thing, of course, is that we’re doing our part to remove harmful trash from our precious waterways.

Please consider joining us for a paddle/cleanup. We need all the help we can get, and it’s a great way to spend some of your free time.

Doug Toltzman

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Permuda Island Paddle Trash Fishing Tournament

Lisa Rider of Keep Onslow Beautiful (KOB) hosted a Paddle Trash Fishing Tournament launching from Topsail and heading to Permuda Island on Saturday, May 14th in collaboration with the National Esturarine Research Reserve, Plastic Ocean Project, On Shore Surf Shop, and the local paddling community. Aside from myself and my six year old daughter, two of White Oak-New Riverkeeper Alliance’s board members attended as well, including Dale Weston, White Oak-New Riverkeeper Alliance President and dedicated board member / volunteer Chris Luffman. It was a beautiful day for a paddle. Most attendees headed out on the water. My daughter and I stayed behind along with another couple and scoured the beach front with handy sifters and a five gallon bucket. According to the Ocean Conservancy (2016) “Just five countries currently account for almost 60 percent of the total leakage of plastic into the ocean, due to a mismatch between their ability to produce waste and their capacity to manage it.” Every little bit that you contribute to keeping our waterways free from trash is worth the effort.

I would like to congratulate our board member Chris Luffman for winning an award for “Most Trash Collected”!


Also, catch us on the news here:

Nicole L. Triplett, White Oak-New Riverkeeper


Ocean Conservancy. (2016). More plastic than fish in our ocean? Not if we act now. Retrieved from



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Chaney Creek Cleanup: A Qualified Success

DJT_7683We got seven volunteers out on Chaney Creek in Jacksonville, NC, today to collect trash in and along the creek. The weather was cloudy and cool, but the conditions were actually pretty good for a trash pickup. We picked up a lot of trash, much of it plastic.

We launched from The Marina Cafe, and they helped us to properly dispose of the trash we collected. I call the cleanup a qualified success because we gathered a lot of trash and got it out of the environment, but we couldn’t possible collect all of the trash that we saw, and we didn’t get as far up the creek as I had hoped. I also destroyed a pair of pants, wading through the muck.

DJT_7691We did see one, small alligator, warming himself on the bank, which is always fun. There is just something about prehistoric predators that makes me want to stop and stare. When I was a child, I had a fascination with dinosaurs.

Thanks to everyone who helped us, today, and to The Marina Cafe. If you’d like to join us on future cleanups, you can find us on, where we post all of our volunteer opportunities. We generally have a good time, and we’re planning a big party for out volunteers; you don’t want to miss out!

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Thanks for Another Successful Cleanup

trashOn January 30, seven of us set out to clean up around the Swansboro bridge over the White Oak River (the double bridges). I’ve often said, if you pick up one piece of plastic and dispose of it properly, you’ve made a difference. Well, by that standard, we made a huge difference this past Saturday!

VolunteersI was saddened by how much trash we found, but I am heartened by the dedication of our volunteers and the cooperation we got from the community.

If you’ve never been on a trash pickup, I suggest you join us for at least one. Yes, we can always use more help, but also, I believe it opens your eyes to the scope of the problem. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably not one to toss your trash out the window, but maybe we can convince you to pack a trash bag on your outings and make the effort to pick up some trash when you’re out and about. Every little bit really does help, and the problem is a lot more serious than you might imagine.

DJT_7238Take a close look at the photo on the left, and see if you can count the number of man-made items. The glove and can are barely the tip of the iceberg. Click the image to view it more closely. (We don’t pick up broken glass, as a rule.)

trash-pile2We didn’t run out of trash to pick up before we ran out of time. We had so many trash bags we had trouble hauling them away. I’d like to extend a special thanks to Dudley’s Marina in Cedar Point for helping us with that. I’d also like to thank Second Wind Eco Tours and Yoga for providing equipment.

Last, but not least, I want to thank the tireless volunteers who took time out of their weekend to help us collect 8 large bags of trash and a pile of items too big for our trash bags. It was not a trivial effort, and everyone pitched in. You people are awesome, and I can’t thank you enough.

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When Communities Come Together


There are many regions within the White Oak River Basin areas that are clean up worthy. It can be a real bummer to see take out cups, beer bottles, and all the creative things you can imagine choking up the natural landscapes all around you. This holds true in my local communities as well. This morning I bribed my high school aged neighbor, who happens to be out of school right now, to come clean up the entrance to Maynard Manor off of Gum Branch in Jacksonville, North Carolina. She brought along our two year old friend, and we slowly cleared one side of the entrance going on one hour. We got about three large bags filled before the task of cleaning and keeping up with the smallest of us got the better of us and we began to head back.

Look at all this yard waste!
Look at all this yard waste!

Before we could get away a mini van pulled up with a family of three and asked if they could join us. This was music to my ears! The daunting task of clearing out this area just got much less daunting.


Family of three!
Family of three!

Another hour and a half passed and all of us were able to fill up 9 of those orange bags with garbage.

When we drive past these areas and shake our heads thinking, “You know? Someone really should do something about all that trash,” remember: “You Are Someone!” You never know what example you may be setting for others in your community. A daunting task seems far less daunting when you realize there are others in the community willing and wanting to come along and help out. Sometimes all it takes is just showing up.

And ALL of this MUD!
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