Boone LakeA typical scene on Boone Lake, Tennessee. Watch out for crocs in the water!Photo: Bob Stokes, winner of a virtual high five

We’re down in the dumps. But you get what you ask for, right?

We asked you, our oh-so-sharp readers, to send us your photos of polluted or degraded waterways. The results are not pretty. Plastic trash, invasive weeds, garbage so plentiful it creates its own damn dam –- we feel like we’re floating in the Pacific Garbage Patch. And the video you sent? There are no words.

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The winningest photo, above, was posted by Grist Facebook fan, Bob Stokes. Bob gets a virtual high five — along with our aquatic apologies for the state of his local lake.

We’re also happy to hear that you readers are bridging the clean up of these troubled waters. Clean, happy endings await the following stories of H-2-Oh-no. Click through to see how other Grist readers are raising awareness of their local wasted waterways, and let us know about your own efforts in the comments.

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Duck weedThe invisible enemy: Too much synthetic fertilizer in the water causes too much duckweed. And everybody knows duckweed is a gateway drug for wild birds. No good can come of this.Photo: Gillian Z. Miller

Gillian Z. Miller sent us this picture of a pond in rural Iowa with a note: “Duckweed is a nuisance plant that grows prolifically in waterways polluted by excess nutrients, such as [nutrients] from farm and lawn runoff.”

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Upper McCoy's CreekToo bad this trashy stream is the real McCoy.Photo: Sarah NanPlastic rubbish floats in Upper McCoy’s Creek in Jacksonville, Florida. Sarah Nan, who submitted this shot, tells us the garbage eventually makes its way to St. John’s River via storm drains, and then on to the Atlantic Ocean. “Don’t worry,” she says. “We cleaned it up.”










CreekThis garbage isn’t worth a dam, but it’s still mucking up this creek in Jacksonville, Florida.Photo: Duncan Pullen

Duncan Pullen included this hopeful note to his photo of a trashy Jacksonville creek: “My wife and I have been working on getting this creek cleaned with the help of the community for a couple of years.”

Michael Dowd called our attention to this horrific video from Romania, where a torrential storm caused flooding and collected obscene amounts of garbage from the riverbanks.