Two young Ladysmith residents have been recognized nationally for their efforts in cleaning up Stocking Creek.
Jon, 14, and Braden, 16, Judson recently returned from a trip to Yellowknife where they were awarded with the 2011 Conservation Achievement Award on June 18.
When a landslide dumped heaps of trash, around 400 dump trucks worth, in Stocking Creek, the Judsons, Sportsmans Club, Chemainus Rod and Gun Club and several other volunteer groups jumped into action to clear the river, pull out most of the garbage and start to stabilize the bank to prevent further incidents.
The area used to be used as a garbage dump, but a year of heavy rainfall and melting snow saw the bank give way and trash block a salmon habitat.
It is a process that has taken four years and is not over yet, said the boys’ father, Dave.
“We’ve had machinery go down there to punch in a road to take all the debris out,” said Dave.
“We’ve probably got another four or five years to stabilize the bank.”
They pulled out 65,000 lb of metal, 10,000 lb of plastics, tires and other non-recyclables and countless other truckloads of trash.
“The salmon were coming and there was metal and rust and fuel and car bodies and everything in there,” said Dave, noting the creek empties into Ladysmith Harbour, which could have been the end receiver of the contaminants.
The volunteer effort was incredible, the Judsons said, and slowly after funding started coming in they were able to bring in an excavator.
Now, the fish are coming back.
Jon and Braden said it was a rewarding project to be working on and hope their involvement inspires others to get active in the wilderness.
“It was great to get noticed for it, I guess,” said Braden.
Both boys said they plan to continue working on the cleanup effort at Stocking Creek.