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By Chris Muldrow

Fredericksburg’s City Watershed Manager, Officer Joe Young, spent a rainy Earth Day at Old Mill Park, but he was focused on stepping up patrols along the Rappahannock River’s edge.

Young, who has been charged with protecting the city’s river easement, said that vandalism and littering started increasing as soon as the weather warmed up. He is leading a “full court press” with 24-hour patrolling of the riverfront to try to keep the vandalism in check.

“We see underage drinking, broken bottles, spray painting–and it’s really bad right now,” Young said. He and a group of Department of Game and Inland Fisheries officers took a series of photos of the painting.

Young said that people caught with spray cans along the river could face felony charges because it costs so much to remove graffiti from rocks.

“I work with Woodie over at Friends of the Rappahannock, and he told me you can’t use chemicals to clean off these rocks because it goes straight into the river,” Young said. “So you’ve got to pressure wash it or blast it off, and that gets expensive really quickly.”

Young said the patrolling efforts would step up for at least 30 days.

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