We started our year with a great group of StreamSweepers (pictured below) who completed a week long training regimen for ecological assessment, canoe safety, invasive species identification, global positioning systems (GPS), entrepreneurship and risk management. They have finished their ecological assessment from the Upper Rapidan at Shenandoah National Park all the way to Raccoon Ford.
We need your help! During our initial reconnaissance we have found an unusual amount of tire trash – over 120 tires in a 4.5 mile stretch (see photo below). While we did find this same kind of quantity on the Robinson last year, the difference is that this year the scale of garbage/linear mile is larger and most importantly, we have been unable to get convenient landowner access. This means we have to float canoes full of tires repeatedly down miles of river just to get them out at a distant access point. We’re concerned that we will not be able to get the job done this summer using this method.
An alternative is to create a flotilla with more boats than we currently have in our fleet, put the June and July crews together, and float in mass a dozen or so boats down the river at a time. This should substantially reduce the number of repeat trips we need to make down the same section of river.
Right now we have 7 canoes and we need 5 more. The best boats are 15’-17’ Old Towns. Used boats on Craigslist usually go for $300-$500 and up. We are seeking either donations of used boats or financial contributions to secure boats. In return, we’re offering to personalize the boat in honor of the donor or a loved one (see photo above), but we can also get creative. How about a “Tire Tyrant” canoe as our Sweepers are so eager to get this trash removed!!!
Some ask, “Why tires in the river are a problem?” The reason is they contain toxic metals and compounds such as styrene butadiene, a carcinogen and suspected endocrine disruptor.
We appreciate the past support from our donors which has allowed us to continue this important program. Because StreamSweepers’ cost of business is supported through landowner service charges and general philanthropy from individuals, foundations, and companies, we reduce our need for solicitation. However, thus far this year, the portion of costs covered by riverside landowner service charges is well below last year’s 50% cost contribution. This means our resources are limited for additional equipment purchases.
We were hoping to start Sweeping the first few miles of the lower part of the Rapidan this week, but since we don’t have the boats we need, for the next few days, we’re going to jump back up to the area of the Route 29 bridge to remove hundreds of feet of plastic collapsible hose.
Thanks for taking time to read this message. Tax deductible donations are accepted by mail at the address below or by clicking here on our secure fundraising platform or by visiting our website. If you would like to donate an entire boat and have it named, please reply to this email.
Buzz, Debbie, Mike and the entire StreamSweeper Crew!