Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Prince William Volunteers are Making a Difference



Year after year volunteers in Prince William County and throughout the region clean our roadways, streams, rivers, and streambeds of trash that started as litter and got carried along by stormwater and wind into our waterways and parks. The volunteers also remove items that were illegally dumped in the woods or carried by off by storms. This 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.

The Prince William County Soil and Water Conservation District (the District) reports that in 2023, their Adopt-A-Stream/Pond/ River Program held 61 cleanup events, where  they had over 1,260 people come out to volunteer. These volunteers did great job removing over 1,300 trash/ litter bags, and 50 tires among other materials were collected (one tire was an old white-wall tire I had found by Chestnut Lick). Combined, all these cleanup events prevented a total of over 26,500 pounds of trash and debris from reaching Chesapeake Bay. These volunteers recorded over 3,000 hours of volunteer time, which would equal over $98,000 in labor costs that the taxpayers did not have to pay.  These events covered a total of over 61 miles of waterways out of the 1,100 miles of streams in Prince William County.

Volunteers under the District’s Chemical Monitoring Program collected data on conductivity, ‘pH, Dissolved Oxygen, Turbidity, Depth/clarity, and temperature. These volunteers conducted 420 monitoring events from 89 sites and recorded over 530 hours of volunteer time. It is worth noting that the chemical data collected supports the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on its over 100,000 miles of streams in Virginia that its staff cannot monitor. This data goes to DEQ through the Chesapeake Bay Monitoring Cooperative (CMC) as Tier II data.

from PWSWCD water monitoring program

Volunteers under the Biological Monitoring Program collect benthic macroinvertebrate data. This data goes to DEQ under the Virginia Save Our Stream (VASOS) Program.

Right now the District is gearing up for the annual spring cleanup events. You can join in as a single time volunteer at any of these events. The first few are:

Your group can also join the Adopt-a-Stream program and select an area to keep clean. Locate any site (point) on this map or propose any waterway/body close to home and contact for more information.

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