Category Archives: StreamSweepers News

Amazing Tenacity

The following series of photos gives you an idea of the effort that it takes to remove some of the trash from our rivers.  At the heads of islands in these rivers you will often find a bulwark of downed trees that look alot like a large pile of “pixie sticks”.  They catch all kinds of things!  Our crew was DETERMINED not to leave this very large piece of trash that was entrenched in one such pile of trees.  There are some videos too…showing the sheer joy of our group once the item has been removed…enough said.

Sizing up removal options
Let me see what’s going on here
Somebody else wants a turn down there?
We’re going to have to dig
and dig some more
and maybe cut it up and pull too
I think I can get it free
Let’s lift it outta here!
Getting a ride out
Bigger than the canoe!
At the dump – HOORAY


Continue reading Amazing Tenacity

Our Season Has Begun!

Rappahannock River Crew

Rappahannock Crew 2017  (left to right front Will Sowards, Caitlyn Fincham, Lisa Dornon, Dimeair Johnson, Katie Keator, Jeanine Meerscheidt (On Water Manager), Kiera Meerscheidt, Debbie Manzari, Eric Himelfarb (Center Natural Capital Staff), Tyler Perkins and Austin Harkness)

Our season has begun!  We are going to take some time over the next few weeks to thank the MANY good folks who have helped get this project rolling and to introduce you to the wonderful staff and the work they are doing.  Stay tuned!

Canoe Training at Virginia Outdoor Center with Friends of the Rappahannock

Dave Matthew’s BAMA Works Fund Keeps StreamSweepers Rolling

StreamSweepers and the Center for Natural Capital, its parent group, and its Board of Directors thanks the Charlottesville Area Community Foundations Dave Mathews Band BAMA Works Fund for selecting StreamSweepers to receive financial assistance for 2016 Central Virginia river cleaning, assessment, and maintenance work. “Rivers are our life blood –thanks for supporting the continuous cleansing of them”, noted our Chairman Ed Bain upon hearing of the Foundation’s award.

We really appreciate the support of this wonderful foundation.  Go BAMA!

Kira and Emilie Taking Tires to the Dump – 2015

Hometown Heroes

Help From Our Friends Results in Removal of a Tire Weighing 2100 Pounds

In mid-July as the StreamSweepers crew was moving down the Rapidan River in the area near Raccoon Ford they discovered a tire like they had never seen before.  On first glance it looked much like the large tractor tires they routinely find, but on further inspection and digging, it became apparent that this tire was over 6 feet in diameter and about three feet wide and mostly submerged in unyielding sediment and heavy muck.  After spending about a half hour sizing up the situation and knowing that there was a lot more river to cover that day the StreamSweepers crew knew that this tire would have to be revisited.  A plan was developed and a day was scheduled to go after the big tire.  Needless to say after 5 hours of work with 5 people the crew was only  able to get it to budge about an inch.

Determined to have this tire removed from the river, the crew began to consider who they knew that might have the proper equipment to get the job done.  StreamSweepers called on Dominion Energy as their Foundation has been a supporter of the program.  Their construction crew based in Orange was eager to help!  Below are some photos and videos of their skilled efforts which resulted in a big clean up for the Rapidan.   We’re grateful for the can-do spirit of this group who worked voluntarily to get the job done!

Dominion Crew based in Orange Helps StreamSweepers
Dominion Crew based in Orange Helps StreamSweepers Crew
Heavy Equipment and Willing Partners Make a Difference
Heavy Equipment and Willing Partners Make a Difference



StreamSweepers Crew Thanks You!
StreamSweepers Crew Thanks You!





StreamSweepers Complete Historic Assessment and Cleaning of Entire Rapidan River

Today, the 2015 StreamSweepers completed the first comprehensive assessment and cleaning of entire major river valley in Virginia. This vision, conceived by a small group of residents from Orange, VA to assess and clean the entire Rapidan River from Shenandoah National Park to Fredericksburg, was made possible only through the generous support of Rapidan and Robinson River Landowners and StreamSweepers Supporters throughout Virginia. After 100 miles of work spanning three years, Sweepers came to the end of their journey, at the confluence of the Rapidan and Rappahannock Rivers.


In this year alone, 11 area college and upper high school students were employed full time during the summer to assess the condition of the river valley and sweep junk from the river’s bed and banks. Over $13,000 in training and fieldwork payroll was provided to these young men and women.

In the weeks ahead, information on the health of the Rapidan River Valley will be published and presented to landowners and other supporters of this job corps program.


Sweepers Remove Large Tank from Robinson River

During the 2014 season, Sweepers found several large tanks on area rivers too large to be extracted with boats (see below).

IMG_0422After months of planning and waiting for the ground to freeze, on Saturday, January 10, Sweepers with Partner Contour Construction, LLC (Mark, Jamie on excavator, Lee on drove dump truck, and Danny) mobilized at dawn to begin extraction of a very large (~4000 gallon) tank from the Robinson.

Tank Removal from Robinson 001As usual, things did not go exactly according to plans. With lots of ingenuity and hard work, shortly before midday, the last section of tank was hauled off the property leaving the bank in much improved condition.

Tank Removal from Robinson 012Thanks to landowners Tom and Dawn Miller and to River Stewards Mark and Ann Kington for helping to make this extraction possible.

The short video below shows the effort that went into removal. Turns out the tank was pitted on the bottom and filled with sediment.