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Volunteers Remove 4,450 Pounds of Trash from Rappahannock River Sites

By Susan Larson. Photo provided by Friends of the Rappahannock.

A group of local organizations collaborated on a river cleanup day March 12, 2017, that focused on 13 sites along the Rappahannock River and several small streams in Fredericksburg and Stafford.

Crews comprised of 118 volunteers collected more than 4,450 pounds of trash and debris, according to Bryan Hofmann, programs manager at Friends of the Rappahannock.

Volunteers filled three dumpsters with more than 168 bags of trash, four bicycles, one mattress, two tires, and an air conditioning unit.

“This haul of trash and debris represents what our volunteers were able to see and safely collect,” Hofmann said. “The real danger is the litter that we cannot see and easily reach. This includes micro-plastics, cigarette butts, and other small litter that is already in the waterways. Fish and wildlife collect and consume this litter as food, and use it at nesting and bedding material. It then bioaccumulates up the food chain, and results in the death of millions of fish and birds across the world.”

The organizations that collaborated on the cleanup day included the City of Fredericksburg Clean and Green Commission and Department of Parks and Recreation, Friends of the Rappahannock, Virginia Outdoor Center, and River Rock Outfitter, with support from Project Clean Stream of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.

“We celebrate the wonderful work of our volunteers today, but the fight for clean water is far from over,” Hofmann said.

Friends of the Rappahannock hosts river cleanup events year round. They also have all the materials necessary and an inventory of cleanup sites for any groups or individuals interested in organizing their own cleanup event. Check out www.riverfriends.org/events for more information.

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