May River Cleanup

Community Volunteer Opportunity: 22nd Annual May River Cleanup, Saturday, May 4th, 2024

Town of Bluffton leaders and staff are asking residents to help clean up the May River, her shores, nearby streets, and parks of the Bluffton Historic District on Saturday, May 4, 2024, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

“The May River has and is still the centerpiece of Bluffton.” Mayor Larry Toomer said. “As a commercial fisherman, I know intimately what the May brings to Bluffton’s culture, industry, and lifestyle – the May River Cleanup is an opportunity for all of us to take care of her.”

  • Volunteers will meet at Oyster Factory Park, located at the end of Wharf Street.

    • The Town hopes to complete construction of the pavilion side of the park by early May, but crews may still be present. If the area is not yet available, the event will be held across the street on the Garvin Garvey House side of the park.

  • Boats and kayaks are needed to assist with cleanup efforts (Please arrive at 8:30 a.m. to allow time for setup).

  • Coffee and hot chocolate will be provided by Corner Perk.

  • All supplies, including gloves, bags, vests, and water, will be provided by the Town of Bluffton, American Rivers, Palmetto Pride, Keep Beaufort County Beautiful, and Beaufort County Solid Waste & Recycling.

  • Personal supplies such as sunscreen, bug spray, and water will be provided.

  • Snacks and lunch will be provided by the Town of Bluffton.

Annual May River Cleanup

Toomer said each year, this event grows in the number of participants and organizational partners.

“It is very rewarding to see students, scout groups, civic organizations, businesses, and nearly a dozen official partners join the Town to make a positive impact on the May River, the streets, and areas which surround her,” Toomer said. “This is truly a collective community effort.”

Education and outreach play an important role in improving water quality in our local watersheds, including the May River Watershed. As volunteers return from cleaning up our community, educational booths provided by Lowcountry Stormwater Partners, The Dolphin Project, Port Royal Sound Foundation, and Bluffton Paddle Club will be available for them to visit. This is an important component because Beaufort County’s large expanses of salt marsh, tidal rivers, and deep channels provide a high level of biodiversity, allowing wildlife, such as oysters, dolphins, and cobia, to flourish. This also means that the ecosystem is sensitive to the environmental pollutants found in the stormwater that drains into rivers and streams, carrying pollutants with it.

Event Partnerships:

The Town is grateful for its partners.

  • The Town of Bluffton is also partnering with M.C. Riley Elementary School to host the Annual School Participation Challenge. This will be the 9th time the school and the Town have partnered for this event. Students and their families will have the opportunity to take part in the Cleanup and waste reduction efforts provided by i2 Recycle. Coastal Kingdom will be partnering to assist the Town with the School Participation Challenge, and MC Riley Elementary participants will be given a reward at the end of the school year.

  • Corner Perk will be donating a cup of their delicious coffee or hot chocolate.

  • Town of Bluffton/Lowcountry Stormwater Partners/Educational Website:

The Town of Bluffton has partnered with all jurisdictions across Beaufort County and Clemson Extension’s Carolina Clear to establish an environmental educational project called Lowcountry Stormwater Partners. This project is now providing stormwater education countywide. Its mission is to educate and motivate residents to protect and maintain our local waterways with environmentally mindful activities and projects. For more information, please visit the Lowcountry Stormwater Partners website, https://www.clemson.edu/extension/carolinaclear/regional-consortiums/lsp/index.html, and its Facebook page (Lowcountry Stormwater Partners).

In the last 20 years, volunteers, community partners and Town staff members have removed over 60,000 pounds of litter, debris, discarded appliances and abandoned boats from the May River and Bluffton Historic District.

In 2015, the Town established a partnership with i2 Recycle, which provides the opportunity to process and recycle suitable materials collected by event volunteers. This has resulted in a portion of the collected waste being diverted from the local landfill.

Waste Management has partnered with the Town again to provide disposal services for all non-recyclable materials.

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