Monday, April 14, 2014

Occoquan River Cleanup

The Girl Scouts were out to help
Spring is finally here after a long harsh winter that refused to loosen its grip on this part of Virginia until April. Saturday, a fabulously beautiful spring day, was the 5th annual Upper Occoquan River Cleanup. This massive collection of trash from the Occoquan River happens every year and on this side of the river is the combined effort of the Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition, Trash Free Potomac Watershed, Penguin Paddling, Prince William County Parks and Recreation Department and the Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District (where I volunteer as a director.)

I spent the day at Riverview Estates where volunteers walked along the banks of the river collecting trash and the vast majority of volunteers were on the water in canoes, kayaks and platoon boats collecting floating trash. There were several locations along the Occoquan to put in and drop trash. We were one of the trash collection stations and the a lunch station for the hard working and happy volunteers.

The Occoquan River Cleanup is part of the Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup coordinated by the Alice Ferguson Foundation working with the region’s soil and water conservation districts, community groups, employers, and schools happens this time of year. The Potomac River Watershed Cleanup is the largest regional event of its kind and happens over several weekends so that you or your group can still participate this year. It is a great single day volunteer opportunity.

Over the next several weeks there will be a series of neighborhood events that are an opportunity to spend a few hours outside with others cleaning up the trash from our water ways and road ways, planting trees and nature walks in our many regional parks to appreciate the trees. Year after year volunteers clean our roadways, streams, rivers, and streambeds of trash that started as litter and carried along by stormwater and wind into our waterways and parks. We also remove items that were illegally dumped in the woods or carried by off by storms. Don’t litter and teach your children not to litter, that is the best way to prevent trash along our roads, streams and waterways. The trash does not magically disappear, but finds its way carried by stormwater to our waterways and parklands disrupting the natural water flow and beauty of our natural world.

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