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Hazel River StreamSweepers Volunteer Corps Trained and Organized for Summer 2019 Ecological Assessment

Thanks to Natural Capital Board Member Superstar Harriet Giles for organizing volunteer StreamSweepers to tackle Hazel River Assessment beginning the Summer of 2019. With a rapid mini-fundraising campaign for new Garmin GPS units successfully under their belts and training on StreamSweepers ecological assessment protocol used on hundreds of miles of other Virginia rivers under their belt, this dedicated group of landowners has agreed to be the first volunteers to attempt this work. In years past, StreamSweepers has always used paid Sweeper staff to complete this work.

StreamSweepers Flood Cleanup Job Corps

StreamSweepers is partnering with Central Virginia social services organizations and equipment contractors to help suburban and rural landowners clean up their properties from flood damage. The program will train and employ local young adults (age 18 and above) in flood related disaster relief to remove flood debris in flood damaged properties along rivers and streams. Depending on the scale of the cleanup, Sweepers will be paired with local equipment contractors to help remove debris. For some types of cleanup, payments may be a tax deductable contribution.

Sweepers that cleaned the Rappahannock and Mattaponi Rivers this summer will be on call to continue their work as flood relief staff in the coming weeks. StreamSweepers also is looking for more staff to train and hire from the counties of Orange, Louisa, Fluvanna, Spotsylvania, Albemarle, Greene, Madison, Culpeper, Fauquier, and Rappahannock. Landowners interested in assistance should contact Lisa Dornon or Michael Collins at 540-672-2542 to schedule immediate assistance in preparation for Hurricane Florence. Young adults from Central Virginia should also contact us to get a job you will never forget.

Working on the Mattaponi River

Calm still water in areas with deep pools (even lily pads in a few spots).

The weather is cooperating and we have moved over to the Mattaponi River in Caroline County.  Assessments are nearly complete and trash removed from a four mile section has already been delivered to the collection site.  The crew is patiently moving along the river in a section below the Milford DGIF boat launch which is littered with downed trees.  We appreciate the assistance we’ve received from local government, Luck Stone and landowners who provided us with information and access.  Look for another update early next week!

A few items of trash in the first four miles: 5 tires, 4 bags of cans and bottles, and an old seat cushion, some siding and metal.

4 tires with rims plus a big tractor tire between Paige Road and Milford.

Sweeper Allison Passa

Some pretty consistent navigation challenges with all of the wind and rain this summer.

Debris

First day of river assessment leaving DGIF Boat Launch on Paige Road.

Crew getting ready

Friends along the way, including great blue herons and a large bald eagle and lots of fish jumping.

Clinch River Update

As we near completion of the assessment and trash inventory phase of the project we are astonished at the amount of trash in the Clinch River near the Swords Creek area.  According to Project Manager, Maddie Gordon, “there are thousands of tires and other trash in less than a 6 mile stretch.”

The Clinch River cleanup will be much different than any previous clean up effort StreamSweepers has completed.  We will need additional partners and new protocols to move this project into an industrial scale cleanup.  While we know this will require a tremendous amount of effort and we believe it is both possible and necessary!  The photos speak for themselves.

Tire Recycling Amnesty Event

Free Tire Disposal at Orange County Landfill on Saturday June 16, 2018 from 8am-12noon

Orange County Landfill   11530 Porter Road, Orange, VA

To help with the growing problem of tire accumulation and improper disposal, the Orange County Landfill, the Orange County Litter Control Committee and StreamSweepers have organized a FREE Tire Recycling Day.

  • Orange County residents may dispose up to 12 tires at the Orange County Landfill free of charge on Saturday, June 16, 2018, between 8am and 12 noon.
  • Disposal will be on a first come-first served basis and proof of residency may be required.
  • Standard car/truck tires (R22.5 size maximum) will be accepted (no commercial or business drop-offs, residential only).

The following businesses are PARTNERS in this event:

The following businesses SPONSORED this event:

 

This event is organized by the Orange County Litter Control Committee, the Orange County Landfill and StreamSweepers.  For more information contact (540) 661-5323 or see the event site on Facebook.

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THANKFUL – Adopt A Pile Progress Update

Adopt A Pile Trash Removed From Robinson River

Dominion Energy Volunteers Remove Adopt A Pile Trash

During the summer of 2016 we uncovered more than 25 sites with trash too large to be floated out in our canoes in the three rivers we cleaned; the Hughes, Rapidan and Robinson Rivers.  Thanks to the generous support we received many of these items – culverts, extra heavy tires,  storage tanks, dangerous metal objects and more have been removed from the river.  We are continuing to make contacts with landowners to gain access to the remaining items to be removed with heavy equipment.  We appreciate the many landowners who have cooperated with us so far.  We couldn’t do this without you!

Some of this stuff has been in our rivers for decades, rusting, and leaking oil and other substances.  Thanks to the many wonderful people who have helped make our rivers cleaner and safer to enjoy, especially the Dominion Energy Volunteers from the Orange service office (pictured above) for bringing in the heavy equipment.  It sure does make a difference!

large trash sites

Large Trash Sites 2016 – Hughes, Robinson and Rapidan Rivers

Culpeper Star Exponent Article

 

Restoration on the Rappahannock – Culpeper Star Exponent Feature Article Sunday August 27, 2017

Culpeper Star Exponent File 1

Culpeper Star Exponent File 2

Jeanine Meerscheidt lifts trash out of the Rappahannock River in Richardsville, VA. Photo by Allison Brophy-Champion

Dimeair Johnson heads back to the banks of the Rappahannock River with a canoe full of trash. Photo by Allison Brophy-Champion

 

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.

StreamSweepers Investigating Porta Potty Removal Options
Sizing up removal options

StreamSweepers determination
Let me see what’s going on here

StreamSweepers teamwork
Somebody else wants a turn down there?

StreamSweepers digging for trash
We’re going to have to dig

StreamSweepers removing trash piece by piece
and dig some more

StreamSweepers don't give up
and maybe cut it up and pull too

StreamSweepers seeing the light at the end of the tunnel
I think I can get it free

StreamSweepers teamwork lifting it out
Let’s lift it outta here!

StreamSweepers joy at trash removal
PHEW!

StreamSweepers taking trash where it belongs
Getting a ride out

SteamSweepers canoe trash barge
Bigger than the canoe!

StreamSweepers at the landfill
At the dump – HOORAY

 

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