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Celebrating 20 years of trying to clean up the Gowanus Canal

GOWANUS, Brooklyn — It is one of the most polluted waterways in the country, but apparently there’s a lot to celebrate about the Gowanus Canal because there was a 20th anniversary party of the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club on Friday.

“We’re celebrating 20 years of advocacy and environmental joy in paddling the filthy and disgusting Gowanus Canal,” Owen Foote, the treasurer of the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, told PIX11 News.  It has been such a long haul for the cleanup of the Gowanus Canal and it is not over yet, and the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club has been there every step of the way.

The club was founded in 1999 as a volunteer organization dedicated to providing waterfront access and education to the public, 10 years before this incredibly polluted canal was declared a federal superfund cleanup site. It has been a slow process. The dredging has just recently started.

“I wish I had a crystal ball but looks like it will be cleaned up by 2028 or 2030,” Brad Vogel, the club’s captain, told PIX11 News.

But in the meantime, just as the cleanup is moving at a snails pace, the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club has been hosting poetry readings and sunset tours on the canal to tell people more about the last 300 to 400 years of the Gowanus. There are even those who fish in it.

“There are lots of different fish, striped bass and bait fish, too,” Gary Francis, a fisherman, told PIX11 News.

And at this party, there was so much optimism about the future of the Gowanus as some were dressed as sea creatures doing an Interpretive dance.

“I am bio luminescence I have come from the sea to celebrate all things canal Gowanus,” Carolina Salguero, a supporter of the club, told PIX11 News.

If you want to know more about Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, you can go to their website.

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