January 3…Since this project was launched in early December 2017, thousands of dollars have been raised for StreamSweepers and Adopt a River! We will be posting the segments that have received Adoption later this month.
Since 2012, StreamSweepers’ purpose has been first time comprehensive cleaning and assessment of Virginia rivers. In 2016 we tested maintenance cleaning on the Rapidan and Robinson Rivers. Prior to 2017, all of the work was completed by paid staff. This year, we began volunteer projects around bridge crossings as a complementary activity. Based on landowner discussions, and our experiences with maintenance cleanup and volunteer activities, we believe there is a need for an ongoing program after StreamSweepers has completed initial cleanup and assessment providing administration and labor for activities to include maintenance cleaning, volunteer events, and multi-disciplinary educational events for landowners about river stewardship. We call this program Adopt a River. Our view is that Adopt a River is a new Phase II part of StreamSweepers programming, with Phase I being initial cleanup and assessment. It is noteworthy that last year, the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation defunded their “Adopt A Stream” program.
For 2018, we aim to work with landowners that previously supported StreamSweepers on the Rapidan, Robinson, and Hughes Rivers to create Adopt A River Stewardship Teams. A Team could be a person, family, business, organization, or anyone that cares about the ecological health of a stretch of river identified by StreamSweepers and is willing to take action to maintain or improve it. The maps on the individual Adopt a River pages show the stretches or segments of these three rivers we seek Stewardship Teams to adopt in 2018.
2018 Stewardship Team Activities would include:
- Half day Stewardship Team gathering to be held in February -March to plan for work to be completed in 2018.
- Half day volunteer cleanup of an easily accessible point on the river around a bridge crossing or along a river near a road with volunteers walking the river banks to remove trash. StreamSweepers would organize the event providing supplies and equipment and food, with Team Member(s) helping to champion the event among neighbors and social and civic groups.
- Half day education event for landowners about specific issues related to river health spanning water quality, wildlife, environmental policy and law and land use planning.
- Maintenance clean-up of a 4-mile river segment(s) by paid StreamSweepers staff.
StreamSweepers Staff will create a budget for these five activities to be completed for each river segment for 2018. Support will be solicited from landowners to help the Team in one or more of the following capacities:
- Financial support
- Hosting an organizational or educational Team meeting
- Participating in a volunteer cleanup
- Contact neighbors and civic/social groups
The cost for StreamSweepers to work with a Team to implement these activities for 2018 is $6000 per river segment. Should funding for a segment claimed by a Team fall short of 100%, reduction in scope of activities will be planned at the Team gathering in February-March.