Trash is not the largest problem that the Chesapeake Bay faces, but it is definitely one of the easiest to eliminate. For the eighth year, the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is seeking volunteers for Project Clean Stream. This year, the event takes place 9 a.m. to noon, April 2, at more than 165 stream sites throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.

The Alliance organizes Project Clean Stream to connect individuals with their local watershed association. The result is local streams, wooded areas and shorelines that are safer, cleaner and more beautiful.

This year, Project Clean Stream is focusing on the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed, and is seeking more volunteers and sites in all stretches of the six Bay states.

We are promoting and reinforcing the direct relationship that cleaner, litter-free streams and woodlands result in a healthier, more beautiful Chesapeake Bay.

We are also expanding the scope of the projects to include tree plantings and invasive species removals. The greatest advantage to this cleanup effort is that one can immediately see results.

In 2010, more than 3,600 volunteers removed more than 118,000 pounds of trash and debris from area streams. This year, we hope to recruit 4,000 volunteers, remove 150,000 pounds of trash and register 165 cleanup sites.

There are two ways to help out with Project Clean Stream. As a general volunteer, it is easy to find a nearby stream or roadside cleanup site to volunteer to pick up trash, like tires and other discarded items.

Those who would like to create their own cleanup site can contact the Alliance to find out how to become a Site Captain. Through grants from Perdue Industries and the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Alliance works with partnering organizations - local watershed associations and regional county staff - to set up cleanup sites, recruit volunteers and provide supplies like trash bags, gloves, and first aid kits.

No matter how you help, volunteering a few hours of your day sends a powerful message. Project Clean Stream volunteers recognize that litter is unsightly and degrading to the environment. They care enough about the Chesapeake Bay and their community to make a change. Volunteering at a cleanup site expands Project Clean Stream and effectively increases the health of the Chesapeake Bay area.

Without your help, we won't reach our goals.

Interested individuals may contact the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay for a list of local registered cleanup sites or go online to http://allianceforthebay.org/pcs.

To volunteer, contact Dan Ellis at dellis@allianceforthebay.org or 443-949-0575. Additional information, such as a map of cleanup sites, is available at http://allianceforthebay.org/pcs.

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