Category Archives: 2015 Season Updates

What It Takes

This summer was another wonderful opportunity to witness a group of dedicated and amazing young adults working to complete the efforts started by another amazing group three years ago.  By the end of the 2015 summer season the entire Rapidan River had been assessed to determine bank characteristics, buffer quality, erosion, tree canopy and more.  In addition, a thorough cleaning of the entire river was completed.  This accomplishment was only possible with the cooperation and partnership of many individuals.

We invited all our supporters to celebrate this combined achievement at The Arts Center In Orange on the evening of September 17.   A special presentation of an autographed bowling ball (removed from the river by a Sweeper) was made to the Germanna Foundation for their willingness to assist on numerous occasions.  You will find the slide show presented at this event below.  You’ll notice at the end of the presentation that there are 6 pages of names of individuals that have supported the program over the last three years -THANK YOU!


Mac at Arts Center

StreamSweeper Mac Klackle (center) speaking about his experience during summer 2015 at year end celebration at The Arts Center In Orange pictured with watershed supporters.  (Photo courtesy of Jeff Poole of The Orange County Review)

Staff of Germanna Foundation and StreamSweepers 2015 Crew, Locust Grove, VA

Staff of Germanna Foundation and StreamSweepers 2015 Crew, Locust Grove, VA

Below is a list of the landowners who granted access to their property this summer as well as a list of a folks who lent exceptional program support this year.

Landowners – RA Lillard, Rodney Lillard, John Whiteside, CR Tanner, Bruce and Ann Bowman, Todd Sansom, Doug and Bonnie Coffey, Laneway Farms, Taylor White, Barbara Miller, Beth Seale, Randy Merrick, Adrianne Foshay, Belair Farms, Joan Ducker, Ronnie Sexton, Germanna Foundation, Wilderness Shores, Rapidan Service Authority and Friends of the Rappahannock

Beth Seale, American Canoe Association (ACA) Instructor and Owner of Rapidan River Kayak Company

Dr. Randy Merrick, Merrick Family Medicine and Laser Therapy

Ruth Douglas, Master Naturalist and member of Virginia Native Plant Society and Blue Ridge PRISM

John James, ASLA – John James Landscape Architect 

Program SupportersColeman Andrews responded to our mid-summer plea for boats with the donation of “Proud Mary”.  Rhonda from the Shelby Kwik Mart in Rochelle, VA (helped us out with a gas emergency). The Houck’s of Belair Farm (which became a second home for trash removal operations).  Baker’s Store.  Rod and Colin Bowers who helped our fleet grow. Thunder Lane of Culpeper for a boat donation.  And we are very grateful for the mid-summer infusion of additional program dollars by an anonymous donor to purchase boats.  We thank all of you who have supported us this season and over the past three years!

Photos of two new additions to the StreamSweepers fleet.

Proud Mary

Youth Visions Canoe Photo

Despite Rain, Heat, and Blackflies, Sweepers Nearly Halfway to Goal of Completing Rapidan River

No matter the effort, it’s always the last 10% that is the back breaker. This year has been the toughest we’ve ever had. Perhaps its because we’re so spread out this season, from the boldery headwaters to the wide rock gardens of the confluence, we are dealing with more logistical and weather difficulties than ever before. At times it’s just one foot in front of the other, and after months, one day we will end up at the glorious Rappahannock.

Sweepers Need More Used Boats to Get Tires Out of Lower Rapidan

Boat Fundraising Image FINAL croppedDear StreamSweeper Supporter, (from email blast sent out evening 6/29….)

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.  

Best regards,
Buzz, Debbie, Mike and the entire StreamSweeper Crew!