New group in Common Fence Point plans cleanups

First one set for Friday afternoon

Posted 4/16/19

PORTSMOUTH — Earth Day is Monday, April 22, but it’s coming to Portsmouth a little earlier.

A newly formed group, Common Fence Point Global Awareness Local Action-CFP GALA, is …

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New group in Common Fence Point plans cleanups

First one set for Friday afternoon

Posted

PORTSMOUTH — Earth Day is Monday, April 22, but it’s coming to Portsmouth a little earlier.

A newly formed group, Common Fence Point Global Awareness Local Action-CFP GALA, is hosting a Good Friday Earth Day Cleanup from noon to 3 p.m. on Friday, April 19. 

Participants are asked to meet at the Common Fence Point Community Hall, 933 Anthony Road.

Jono Bixby, a lifelong Portsmouth resident, created the group just recently in an effort to bolster cleanup efforts in the neighborhood.

“Back in 2016, I started cleaning up the beaches in Common Fence Point just because I was watching some wildlife in the winter and noticed all the trash in the salt marshes,” said Mr. Bixby, who works for a small military contracting company in Portsmouth. “We’re seeing all the news reports around the world that’s saying that at one point, we’re going to have more plastic in the ocean than fish. Almost all seabirds in the ocean have plastic in their bellies.”

He connected with the Common Fence Point Improvement Association and started running cleanups in the fall and spring.

“Through that, over the last three years, we’ve been able to clean up a lot of trash off our beaches — close to 6,000 pounds,” Mr. Bixby said.

He formed the new group because he felt he needed more help at certain locations — such as the beach under the Sakonnet River Bridge and its adjacent railroad track. 

“It’s like a landfill over there,” said Mr. Bixby, noting the area is notorious for collecting trash, partly because it’s the “the narrowest point” in the bay.

He also wanted to get more volunteers to scour the nature preserve around Town Pond, located off Anthony Road and Boyds Lane. “That marsh gets a lot (of trash),” he said.

Hopefully, the first cleanup on Friday will help create a groundswell of support for the new group, he said. 

“The event coming up is the first one coming up that I’m actually running,” said Mr. Bixby. Citizens “need to start chipping away at this global problem,” he added, and start thinking about sustainable ideas that can help not only their own neighborhood but the entire island.

“I’m really hopeful and I think we’re ripe for getting this done,” he said.

Future cleanups

Common Fence Point Global Awareness Local Action-CFP GALA has several other cleanups scheduled for this month and next. All of the following events are scheduled from 9 a.m. to noon:

• A cleanup of Montaup Country Club will be held on Saturday, April 27. Meet at the Common Fence Point Montaup path off Attleboro Drive. Montaup Country Club is lending crew and maintenance vehicles to help move debris. As an added bonus, volunteers can watch the scheduled implosion of the Brayton Point power plant’s cooling towers in Somerset.

• A cleanup of Town Pond will be held on Saturday, May 4. Meet in parking lot cross from Roger Williams University’s Baypoint Residence and Conference Center on Anthony Road. Rail Explorers will use its rail cars to pick up bags from the train tracks.

• A Sakonnet River Bridge cleanup is set for Saturday, May 11. Meet at Sakonnet Marina South Yard, 455 Rhode Island Boulevard. If you have a boat, bring it to the beach to help remove debris. Sakonnet Marina is hosting a post-cleanup barbecue. RSVP at http://savebay.galaxydigital.com/need/detail/?need_id=412106.

All cleanups are kid-friendly and volunteers should wear weather-appropriate clothing and closed-toe shoes. Bring water and, if you have them, work gloves.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.