Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

 

Continue reading Amazing Tenacity

Thanks to FOR and VOC!

Friends of the Rappahannock  (FOR) and Virginia Outdoor Center (VOC)

We’re excited to be working on the Rappahannock River this year and appreciate all the hard work that Friends of the Rappahannock  and the Virginia Outdoor Center have done over the years to care for this river.  We hope that our efforts to assess and clean the river will expand upon their good work!

After StreamSweepers spent a day on the Rapidan River, it was time to move on over to the Rappahannock.  So who you gonna call? — Friends of the Rappahannock!  We had great instruction from Bryan Hoffman and Adam Lynch which made all the difference in readying our staff for their task on the Rappahannock this summer.

Thanks also to FOR’s Woodie Walker and Kathleen Harrigan who have been incredibly supportive of our efforts.

Steady as she goes (FOR’s Adam Lynch steadies the boat for Caitlyn Fincham)

 

FOR’s Bryan Hoffman (Orange shirt) provides detailed river knowledge to SS 2017 Crew

 

Four years ago StreamSweepers was graciously loaned some boats by VOC for our program and they are still out there floating today!  Many thanks to Bill Micks and the entire staff at VOC.

Ready to get on the water thanks to the great folks at the Virginia Outdoor Center

Thanks to the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation

Many thanks to the Northern Piedmont Community Foundation for supporting StreamSweepers!  We needed a vehicle and a trailer to transport our Sweepers and pull our canoes.  We found a great deal on a used Four Runner and trailer and were able to make the purchase thanks to them.

They also helped us move into the realm of volunteer cleanups.  Over the next year we will be hosting cleanups led by volunteer groups in Fauquier, Culpeper and Rappahannock counties to clean the smaller tributaries before the trash reaches the Rappahannock.  The picture below is of the Highland School crew who cleaned along the White’s Mill Trail and Cedar Run near Warrenton.  If your organization is interested in hosting a cleanup, please contact StreamSweepers Program Manager, Debbie Manzari.

Thanks Northern Piedmont Community Foundation from all of us here!

Will Sowards (Fauquier resident and 2017 StreamSweeper)

 

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