Trash Trout installed in Big Horse Creek in Lansing, NC

Trash Trout installed in Big Horse Creek in Lansing, NC

The New River Conservancy (NRC) in partnership with Greater Lansing Area Development (GLAD), Keep Ashe Beautiful, and Asheville GreenWorks,  has installed the first Trash Trout™ in Ashe County, North Carolina in Big Horse Creek in Lansing, NC. Elizabeth Underwood, Executive Director of NRC says “The installation is the result of months of cooperation between these organizations.  Lansing Mayor, Mac Powers, as well as James Littlejohn, president of GLAD, have been instrumental in their leadership and support throughout the process.”

Trash Trouts™ are waterway litter traps created by Asheville Greenworks. They capture and hold stormwater litter, making river cleanup faster and more efficient, and protecting downstream waterways. Utilizing the flow of the waterway, flotation and a mesh gate, we’re able to seize floating garbage and contain it until it’s ready to be cleaned out. The device doesn’t contain a top or bottom to allow creatures to pass through without harm. The 3/4 openings in the mesh gate keep smaller critters from becoming entangled in the trash. The trap rises and falls with the water levels and is built to withstand average flooding events.

Since October 2023, the Trash Trout™ in Hendersonville, NC’s Mud Creek has collected 7,665 pounds of man-made trash – the equivalent of 176,295 empty plastic drink bottles. There are 42 Trash Trout™ installed in 5 states, with Lansing being number 42.  5 of which are in the New River Watershed: 2 in Beckley, WV, 1 in Princeton, WV and 1 in Boone, NC .

The idea for a Trash Trout™ in Lansing came from James Littlejohn, President of GLAD in early 2023.  GLAD has an ongoing interest in restoring Big Horse Creek, restoring 1,900 feet of degraded stream in Big Horse Creek.  The restoration created habitat for sportfish (namely Trout) and other fish species as well as the Hellbender Salamander.

Seed money for the Trash Trout™ was raised from the proceeds of the inaugural September 2023 Hellbender Bike Ride, in which participants traversed the backroads of Ashe County.    NRC then presented the idea and approximate location to the Lansing Town Council, who unanimously supported the plan.   The remainder of the funds to purchase and install the Trash Trout™ in Big Horse Creek were provided by a grant from The WilBakes Fund of Durham, NC.

Members of GLAD and Keep Ashe Beautiful have pledged to maintain and clean out the Trash Trout™  on a regular basis in order to keep it flowing and operational.

Big Horse Creek is a tributary of the North Fork of the  New River.  Capturing litter in the Trash Trout™  before it reaches the New River saves hundreds of hours of volunteer hours so that we can make a greater impact on the health of the watershed.

This Trash Trout™ makes the 5th one in the New River Watershed. The first was installed in June 2021 by MountainTrue’s Watauga Riverkeeper in partnership with the Town of Boone in Winkler’s Creek, a direct tributary of the South Fork of the New River.    Piney Creek Watershed Association installed two in Beckley, West Virginia (WV) in early 2023.   One is located on Cranberry Creek and the second is located on Little Whitestick Creek, both tributaries to the New River.  In addition, the Mercer County Commission,  in Princeton, WV installed one in Brush Creek upstream of the confluence of the Bluestone River, of which a 10 mile section is designated a National Scenic River. The Bluestone River flows into the New River at Hinton, WV, just past Bluestone Lake.

New River Conservancy is a 501(c)3 non- profit organization.  For more information please contact Lisa Stansell – Galitz at   For questions on the Lansing Trash Trout please contact

Getting the Trash Trout™ ready for installation in Big Horse Creek.

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The Trash Trout™ gets tied on and gets wet for the first time.

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Partners from NRC, GLAD, Keep Ashe Beautiful and Asheville Greenworks ready to work.

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