Brothers take charge of lake cleanup efforts

Brothers take charge of lake cleanup efforts Burbank Lake, located west of Elk Point on the border of Union and Clay counties, received a much-needed cleanup on July 7 thanks to a soon-to-be Eagle Scout and some dedicated volunteers.

Brandon Vaca of Sioux Falls led the group which cleaned up a section of the lake during a six-hour period that Saturday.

There is more work to be done, however. Vaca has scheduled more cleanup efforts at the lake on Sunday, July 22 and Sunday, July 29, both beginning at 1 p.m.

Individuals interested in joining the cleanup effort may contact Vaca by phoning 366-1949. They may also call Dennis Henze, Union County Spruce Up South Dakota coordinator, at 356-3354.

Vaca, 16, a member of Boy Scout Troop 731, Sioux Falls, received permission from the Eagle Scout Board, the Game, Fish and Parks Department, and the Spruce Up South Dakota office to start this project.

Volunteers July 7 removed large discarded items, such as refrigerators, an oven, a clothes washer, a water heater, and a telephone pole.

Smaller items fished from the water included barbed wire, baling wire, fencing wire and numerous vodka bottles. Other unusual items found and removed from the lake included a baby crib, a toilet seat and a feeding trough.

The younger volunteers, including Vaca, scampered up and down the steep sides of the lake shore to retrieve the trash and junk. A tow truck from Vermillion was used to bring up the heavier items. Bales of fence wire were pulled up with the help of Marty McInerney and his tractor.

The trash was taken to a nearby dumpster donated by Independence Waste of Elk Point.

The cleanup efforts are designed to make the lake more enjoyable for recreation, and to improve the nesting population for wood ducks.

Brandon Vaca plans to plant arrowhead plants around the lake after restoring its shoreline. The plant, native to South Dakota, is a favorite food of wood ducks.

Brandon Vaca will be joined by his brother, Ryan, 16, at the lake this Sunday. Ryan Vaca is also pursuing an Eagle Scout badge. He has built several wood duck houses and will be installing them at the lake.

The Vacas' mother, Carol, is a native of Vermillion.

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