FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) -- The Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance targets the shores of Lake Winnebago in Fond du Lac for the final cleanup of the season.
Thirty-three people of different ages and backgrounds unite for one cause at Lakeside Park to volunteer their time and energy at the Fox-Wolf Mini Cleanup.
"Cleanups are always important, because it highlights the issues we have with runoff pollution and just pollution in general," said Kelly Reyer, outreach coordinator with the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance.
Plastic bags rustle as water laps against the shore.
"A lot of bottle caps, some broken glass, a lot of garbage bags that washed down full of different things," said Gordon Bullis, a volunteer. "Probably came out of people's yards or down the sewer."
Volunteers comb the shoreline looking for trash of all shapes and sizes, because Reyer says even the littlest fragments can have a negative impact on wildlife and water quality if washed into the Lake Winnebago.
"As they break apart, they don't just go away. They break into smaller pieces," said Reyer.
She adds that the plastic in just one cigarette butt takes up to 10 years to degrade.
"You get the damage it does to the fish and the wildlife, and if the fish can't live and the others animals can't live, well, we might not be able to live either," said Bullis.
In total, volunteers filled 19 bags of trash that included 2 tires, 8 balloons, 60 straws, and more than 260 plastic bags.
"I do want people to sometimes be shocked by what they find," said Reyer. "I want people to be sort of disgusted, and I want them to feel good about making a difference and cleaning up."
"It's important to keep our waterways clean, and keep water clean in general," said Bullis. "Just to have a reminder of how much garbage we throw out every day. It's amazing in our society how disposable we are, how much stuff we get rid of, and how much stuff we can't get back again."
The Annual Fox-Wolf Watershed Cleanup is expected to happen next spring.