Litter removal planned along Middle River
In the three cleanups held since 2018, FOMR has cleaned up 56 miles of Middle River utilizing the volunteer help of over 215 persons. In 2020 alone, 79 tires and 1.74 tons of trash were removed from the waterway.
“Based on how the organizing is going this year, it looks like we could easily top 75 volunteers out in the water again. And since the water level is lower than usual, we may be able to recover some litter that usually is too deep for us to reach,” explains Dave Mangun, FOMR Cleanup Coordinator.
Litter hurts the river and her residents. Turtles and fish ingest small bits of plastic their bodies cannot digest. Fishing line left streamside gets wound around the legs of ducks and geese and can trap them. Small bits of plastic wash downstream eventually to the ocean, where wildlife there are negatively affected. Then there are effects one cannot even see. For example, tires that sit in the river for decades slowly fall apart and release pollutant chemicals into the water.
Middle River gets trash in and along it banks primarily from two sources: stormwater runoff and floods which pick up loose items and pull them to the river, and intentional or careless human dumping. The river has a lot of what is known as “legacy trash” which is trash that has accumulated over many decades.
The cleanup is a community/partner endeavor. Volunteers pulling a canoe behind them which acts as a barge for the trash collected. Each team cleans a mile or two of the River, while other volunteers act as land crew to unload, sort and inventory the trash.
In recent years Virginia Eagle Distributing Co. has hosted the collection dumpster on their lot for a week during the event. The dumpster service has been partially donated by Green Earth LLC. And the County of Augusta landfill allows FOMR to unload our dumpster at a discount.
Read more and see photos and video of past years’ cleanups at www.friendsofthemiddleriver.org/cleanups.