Event helps keep area rivers clean

Published 9:27 am Saturday, April 11, 2009

Riverkeeper Jeff Turner is used to collecting trash and debris along the Blackwater and Nottoway rivers.

Once a year, on Clean Rivers Day, he gets a helping hand from dozens of volunteers.

“I have Clean Rivers Day every time I go to the river,” Turner said with a laugh. “I hope this year will be bigger and better than ever before. We really need to get the word out.”

The ninth annual cleanup event is Saturday, April 18.

Though many people like to get out on boats to help clean, Turner said that isn’t necessary.

“Pick up trash in the ditch in front of your house and then let me know how much you got,” he said. “Although, by boat is still the best way to do it. Get your kids, get on the river, see nature and do something good for the environment. Maybe even bring a fishing rod.”

Turner said volunteers cover about 40 miles of river and have found everything from paper cups to refrigerators to a dead cow.

“We’ve found a surfboard,” he said.

Turner said Clean Rivers Day is a good way for a group to participate in a service project together.

“It is a great opportunity to get your school, Scout, church or civic group out in community and help clean it up,” he said.

Volunteers are given orange Virginia Department of Transportation trash bags and one litter-getter tool per two-person team.

Once the trash is collected, it must be brought to either the boat ramp near Barrett’s Landing in Franklin by 1 p.m. or to a county dump site.

Turner is keeping a record of the number of bags that are filled, volunteers and the strangest items found during the day.

For information on how you can participate, contact Turner at 562-5173 or by e-mail at blknotkpr@earthlink.net.

Information also may be found at www.blackwaternottoway.com.