Keeping The Cowpasture River Clean Is A Semi-Annual Event
Millboro, VA – Several members of the Cowpasture River Preservation Association recently spent their Sunday afternoon picking up trash along the section of the river that runs through the Walton Tract in Bath County. The Ocean Conservancy, Clean Virginia Waterways, and the Virginia Adopt-A-Stream Program support this local stewardship activity. The Walton Tract is a public access and camping area in the George Washington National Forest. Polly Newlon, director of the Cowpasture River Preservation Association, or CRPA, describes this year’s fall cleanup.
“The CRPA has been conducting formal semiannual cleanups at the Walton Tract since 2007, when the group adopted the Cowpasture River through the Virginia Adopt-A-Stream Program” says Newlon. “We conduct cleanups at Walton each spring and fall. The fall program coincides with the Ocean Conservancy’s international coastal cleanup.”
“There are three separate areas that we work on, the area where people put in with canoes or kayaks, the area near the swinging bridge which has several camp sites and the take out which has the most litter because lots of people swim, camp and picnic in that area. It is quite an undertaking in the fall and this year we were very lucky – we had the help of 11 volunteers. We ended up with 18 bags of trash along with things like tent frames and folding chairs. This is down from last fall when we had close to 30 bags of litter.”
The Ocean Conservancy is an international organization based in Washington DC. Each September for 25 years they have led a coastal and river cleanup program in 100 countries around the world, that involves over half a million people. This year groups in 45 states and the District of Columbia participated. Millions of pounds of trash are removed from coastal areas and waterways each year.
This year the group expects to pick up over 7 million pounds of debris. Not only that, but each group participating in the cleanup submits data to the conservancy on the types of trash they encounter. This information will help the organization track the sources of the debris and determine strategies to reduce it.
Clean Virginia Waterways is an organization based at Longwood University and supported by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. They support over 3000 volunteers around the state who pick up trash along Virginia’s waterways each year.
Virginia’s Adopt-A-Stream program is administered by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. They provided the Cowpasture River cleanup crew with trash bags, gloves, and orange safety vests. A blue and white roadside sign marks the adopted water on route 42 at the Walton Tract entrance.
The public is welcome to join in these cleanups and you can learn more about the Cowpasture River Preservation Association by going to their website, www.cowpastureriver.org or by calling 540-474-2858.