Cambridge Main Street Green Team photo credit: Dave Harp

Starting Saturday April 1 and continuing throughout the spring, Midshore residents and community groups took to streams, shorelines, streets and woodlands along local rivers to volunteer to remove debris and litter as a part of the Chesapeake-wide Project Clean Stream. Started by the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, Project Clean Stream is a concerted regional effort that engages community members in a hands-on opportunity to improve local water quality through litter pick-up. Midshore Riverkeeper Conservancy (MRC) spearheads the effort locally as the Project Clean Stream coordinator for the Midshore region, including the Choptank, Miles and Wye Rivers.

The results of this clean-up provide a snapshot of the amount of trash and debris that, if not removed, could make it into our waterways and degrade local water quality and habitat for fish, crabs and oysters. Approximately 250 volunteers from Caroline, Talbot, and Dorchester Counties worked at 15 different locations to clean up local streams. They collected over 10,800 pounds of trash, with the most common items being plastic bottles and plastic bags. Unusual items included a car exhaust, upholstery, a cell phone, crab pots, televisions, shopping carts, oil drums, car parts and household wall insulation.

This clean-up effort is a great way to build awareness and to encourage the community to get involved in cleaning up debris left behind after winter and before spring showers wash it into local waterways.

“Project Clean Stream is an opportunity to create awareness and encourage action,” says Choptank Riverkeeper Matt Pluta. “I urge everyone to join this effort, not just in the spring but every day, by not littering and by picking up unsightly trash throughout your day. We all enjoy the outdoors—whether boating on our rivers, fishing, or walking at our parks. Let’s continue to work together to keep these areas clean and inviting for everyone to enjoy.”

Tidy Up Tilghman Crew
photo credit: Barbara Boyd

Participating groups included Cambridge Association of Neighborhoods, Cambridge Main Street, Cambridge Multi-Sport, Cambridge Sail and Power Squadron, Dorchester Citizens for Planned Growth, Nick Carter Team, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, The Country School 2nd Graders, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Easton High School Environmental Club, 4H Busy Beavers, Girl Scouts of the Chesapeake, Nanticoke Watershed Alliance, Phillips Wharf Environmental Center, Saints Peter and Paul High School, residents of Secretary, Third Haven Friends Meeting, and Y-Guides.

Y-Guides Team  photo credit: Bart Merrick

MRC extends its appreciation to the amazing volunteers who gave up a few hours of their time to clean our streams and beautify the rivers of the Eastern Shore. A special thanks also goes to the Town of Easton, the Town of Greensboro, City of Cambridge, and Talbot, Caroline, and Dorchester County Departments of Public Works for collecting and disposing of the trash.

There is still time to get involved in Project Clean Stream. Volunteers of all ages are welcome to participate in a Project Clean Stream event at Pickering Creek Audubon Center on Saturday, May 20 from 9am-12pm. Explore and restore a section of the Audubon Center not generally open to the public as volunteers remove trash from a wet woodland. Gloves and boot will be available to borrow. Call Samantha at 410.822.4903 or email spitts@audubon.org to sign up by May 15.

For more information about Project Clean Stream or to start your own cleanup, contact Suzanne at suzanne@midshoreriverkeeper.org or 443.385.0511.