Monday, June 25, 2018

How we did for the 2018 Occoquan River Clean-up

Belmont Bay Paddlers 

The 9th annual Upper Occoquan cleanup was held over the weekend April 21st -22nd weekend . This cleanup covers a ¼ mile of Broad Run, and a 25 mile stretch of the Occoquan River from below the Lake Jackson Dam passing put-in/take-out sites at Riverview Estates, Occoquan Forest, Canon Bluff, Lake Ridge Marina, Hooes Run. Over 298 Volunteers (76 on the water in canoes/kayaks) collected 410 trash bags, 59 tires and 10-50 gallon barrels. Over 11,067 pounds of trash was removed from the river and its banks. Volunteers cleaned up debris on the water, land or assisted in moving the debris on shore to waiting trucks or dumpsters.

This massive collection of trash from the Occoquan River happens every year and on this side of the river and on the river and is the combined effort of the Prince William County Parks and Recreation Department, Public Works, Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition, the Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District, Fairfax Water Authority, Izzak Walton League, and the Home Owners Associations at the put-ins/take out sites as well as; the Occoquan Watertrail League (OWL) () and several bordering Homeowners Associations, as well as the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority Bradley Forest Recreation Association, Belmont Bay Neighborhood, Devils Reach Road Condo Association, and Dunbarton HOA.

The cleanup also had volunteers from George Mason University students, Northern Virginia Geocaching Organization, Penguin Paddling, American Nepal Society, Boy Scout Troop 43, Scout Cub Pack 1831, Prince William Rowing Club, Lake Ridge Middle School, Parkside Middle School, and the Lake Ridge Community. Some volunteers came from neighboring Counties. Six-storm water ponds and four other land areas were also cleaned.

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 every year. The Potomac River Watershed Cleanup is the largest regional event of its kind and happens over several weekends every spring. It is a great single day volunteer opportunity.

Unfortunately, it is necessary to hold these river cleanups annually. 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. 
Prince William County hauling away collected trash

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