FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 25, 2013

2200 volunteers clean 130+ miles of rivers of 45+ tons of trash and debris

Greenfield, MA– The 410+ mile long Connecticut River and nearby tributaries are now cleaner of trash thanks to the hard work of over 2,200 dedicated residents and Source to Sea Cleanup volunteers. On Friday & Saturday, October 4 & 5, the volunteers from businesses, faith communities, watershed groups, schools, and youth organizations grabbed trash bags and work gloves for the Source to Sea Cleanup, organized by the Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC). This year, 124 Cleanup groups participated in all four states of the watershed (NH, VT, MA & CT) from North Stratford, NH near the Canadian border all the way down to the mouth of the river in Old Saybrook, CT.

“While removing trash is important, the Source to Sea Cleanup is about more than that,” says Jacqueline Talbot, Cleanup Coordinator. “The Cleanup is about strengthening community and allowing people to take meaningful action to improve their neighborhoods. When people help clean their rivers, they make connections with each other and their rivers. Those connections have benefits lasting well beyond the Cleanup.” Susan Norton, a Source to Sea Cleanup volunteer in Northfield, MA noted: “I love to think how I’m connected to everyone else on the river at this moment in time.”

“In many areas we are seeing reduced trash volumes thanks to the stewardship of Cleanup volunteers,” says Talbot. It is estimated that volunteers hauled at least 45 tons of trash from more than 130 miles of rivers and streambanks, with over 50% of groups recycling what they could. Interesting items pulled from the river this year include a large ‘Dam Ahead’ warning sign, found just below the Turners Falls Dam by Deerfield Academy students. Over 8,400 plastic bottles were reported to be pulled from rivers, along with no less than 24 shopping carts. At least 464 tires, a full truck bed, four batteries, and more than 40 cans of motor oil were also found and removed.

LANE Construction Corporation, a lead sponsor of the Cleanup, donated equipment and staff to remove large debris from along the Green River in MA & VT, including the metal remains of an old pedestrian bridge. “We have been participating in the Source to Sea Cleanup since 2006, and our efforts are growing each year,” says Meagan Sylvia, LANE Environmental Manager. “Lane employees and their families look forward to taking part in this annual event because it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors, show appreciation for the Connecticut River and its tributaries—and to make a real difference.”

The City of Middletown, CT joined the Source to Sea Cleanup with a city-wide event for the first time this year. Mayor Daniel Drew initiated the city-wide involvement and noted he is “proud that Middletown and its residents will be a part of it” and that the event “will not only beautify the city’s most valuable natural resource, but will also help the environment.”

NRG Middletown Power LLC, also a lead sponsor of the Cleanup, organized an employee group to clean Dart Island and the adjoining shorelines near their plant in Middletown, CT. “NRG Energy is proud to be a lead sponsor of the Source to Sea Cleanup for the sixth year in a row” says Plant Manager Jeff Araujo. “And our people really enjoy participating in the cleanup, too. By both sponsoring and volunteering, we hope to make a real difference in helping keep this beautiful river as clean as it can be.” Other lead sponsors are Brookfield Renewable Energy Group and TransCanada.

For 17 years, the Watershed Council has organized the Source to Sea Cleanup, the biggest single-day river cleanup in New England. Based in Greenfield, MA, CRWC has been a nonprofit advocate for the 11,000 square-mile watershed of the Connecticut River since 1952.

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