Bay Journal

Project Clean Stream strengthens ties between volunteers, waterways

  • By Dan Brellis on March 01, 2013
More than 5,000 volunteers removed more than 325,000 pounds of trash during Project Clean Stream in 2012. (Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay)

The motivation behind Project Clean Stream is to engage the public with on-the-ground, hands-on environmental stewardship.

For those who are unfamiliar with Project Clean Stream, this program coordinated by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2013. The program culminates in a unified day of service when volunteers spend time with nature — in local parks, rivers and streams — cleaning up trash and debris and improving their communities. Volunteers not only beautify the neighborhoods in which they live and work, but also gain awareness about the impacts they may have on the environment.

The most important connection to the Bay is a personal connection between people and their local stream or river. People care for and protect the things that they know and love. Protecting and restoring one's local river forms the foundation on which watershed stewardship ultimately depends. Project Clean Stream aims to make this important connection and kindle a fire of caring for the environment during one's lifetime.

This year, the unified day of service is April 6, but Project Clean Stream will include cleanup events from March through May in all reaches of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, from New York to Virginia, Delaware to West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Last year, Project Clean Stream connected with more than 5,000 volunteers at 215 cleanup sites resulting in the removal of more than 325,000 pounds of trash.

What makes Project Clean Stream successful is it network of hundreds of watershed organizations, community groups, schools, churches, local governments and businesses who are committed to creating a meaningful outdoor experience.

Volunteers work hard but also learn about their local waterway from their hosts. Our network of local watershed or community groups helps to keep volunteers involved in the future beyond the day's cleanup project.

One key part of the Alliance's mission is to broaden the base of engagement in the Bay watershed's restoration. Project Clean Stream reaches out to new individuals and groups that otherwise might not take the initiative to participate in local stewardship activities.

This year, Project Clean Stream is placing a special emphasis on involving business and community partners to expand its impact and reach new participants.

Additionally, the Alliance is gathering information and developing training that can help its local partners build their own capacity by attracting and retaining volunteers.

The goals are to expand the number of Project Clean Stream sites and the number of volunteers, to connect them with a watershed group, and to encourage them to keep coming back. After all, people protect what they know and love, and many are looking for a way to get involved in a meaningful way.

Stream restoration, tree planting and other restoration activities are increasingly becoming a part of Project Clean Stream events as well.

The 2013 Project Clean Stream has some excellent sponsors including Dominion Power, Perdue, Chesapeake Bay Trust and Severn Savings Bank.

We are very proud to recognize

the commitments that our sponsors Perdue and Dominion Power have made to model the potential for businesses to build employee engagement in the program.

For information on how to host a Project Clean Stream event, organize a cleanup site, view a map of all the cleanup locations or just find out about the locally registered sites in one's area, got to www.cleanstream.allianceforthebay.org.

For additional details, contact Dan Brellis at 443-949-0575 or dbrellis@allianceforthebay.org.

Find Project Clean Stream events on Facebook, tweet #PrjClnStrm on twitter, and share the information with your friends. It's an easy way to get involved and be a part of a growing movement for clean water.

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About Dan Brellis
Dan Brellis is a program manager for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay.
Read more articles by Dan Brellis

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