by Geena Arevalo, WAVY
“A Norfolk neighborhood is coming together to give back to the Elizabeth River”
Norfolk neighbors pitch in to donate kayaks to restore Elizabeth River
by: Geena Arevalo
Posted: Oct 5, 2020 / 01:30 PM EDT
NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Norfolk neighborhood is coming together to give back to the Elizabeth River.
The community’s generosity will lend a helping hand toward continued efforts to restore the waterway.
Neighbors are pitching in their time and their money to donate a fleet of kayaks to the Elizabeth River Project. The donation not only helps the river, but the community too.
What started as an idea for Sharon McQueen has now turned into a community effort for the Winona neighborhood in Norfolk.
“It’s really important to us that that water is clean and safe,” McQueen said.
McQueen has lived near the Lafayette branch of the Elizabeth River for six years. She’s also a volunteer with the Elizabeth River Project.
“I know that a lot of the river cleanup going on around here, the problem people have is that they can’t get out there. They don’t have the boats,” she said.
However that will soon change with a fleet of kayaks. McQueen bought six used kayaks and paddles, and her husband is fixing them up to be in top shape for the water.
Down the block, more people are stepping in to help.
Neighbors Rob Henson and Christopher May are building kayak racks and Bass Pro Shops in Hampton donated life jackets to the cause.
Everything will be given to the ERP.
“They could work on shore restoration, oyster reef building or testing water or giving tours, or any need the ERP might have,” McQueen said.
ERP Executive Director Marjorie Mayfield Jackson said the donation is heartwarming and much appreciated.
“We were just floored and amazed and excited,” she said. “That they would find the energy and commitment and excitement to do this for us, it’s really tremendous.”
Once known as the “dead river,” we’re told blue crabs, shrimp, otters and even dolphins have returned.
Jackson said the kayaks will help significantly. Neighbors tell us they’re glad to be part of it.
“There are still areas of the river that are pretty much devoid of life because of long legacies of pollution,” Jackson said.
The neighbors are raising money to cover the cost of the kayak purchase and they’re already a third of the way to meeting their goal.