FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 1, 2013

New England’s largest river clean-up benefits Long Island Sound:

Source to Sea Cleanup part of National Estuaries Week

Greenfield, MA – The Connecticut River estuary region is about to get a whole lot cleaner thanks to over 2,000 pair of helping hands from across the CT River watershed. This weekend, volunteers from northern New Hampshire and Vermont all the way down to the Long Island Sound will spread out along the Connecticut River and tributaries to remove trash and debris as part of the 17th annual Source to Sea Cleanup. Organized by the Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC), the Source to Sea Cleanup is an annual trash clean up of the Connecticut River and its tributaries along the four-state watershed (NH, VT, MA, CT) held on October 4 & 5. The cleanup is part of the larger National Estuaries Week, a national effort to raise awareness of the importance of protecting estuaries, as well as a partnership with Save the Sound, the International Coastal Cleanup and American Rivers’ National River Cleanup.

“The Connecticut River, New England’s largest, provides more than 70% of the fresh water to the Long Island Sound,” says CRWC Executive Director Andrew Fisk. “Thousands of Source to Sea Cleanup volunteers remove tons of trash from the Connecticut River watershed, preventing it from ever reaching the Long Island Sound, the Atlantic Ocean and the large floating garbage patches around the world. To date, volunteers have removed about 806 tons of trash just from the Connecticut River watershed.” Those looking to join a cleanup group can visit CRWC’s website to find a group near them, www.ctriver.org, click on ‘Source to Sea Cleanup – Join a Group.’

“There are similar cleanups all over the world because, unfortunately, pollution is a problem everywhere. Fortunately, there are also people locally, nationally and worldwide who give of their time and take back our shared water resources,” says Cleanup Coordinator & River Steward Jacqueline Talbot. “Trash pollution of rivers is a huge problem for human and wildlife communities, and local efforts year after year are having a positive impact along the whole 410+ mile Connecticut River and tributaries. Healthy rivers are so important because they contribute so much, both to our economies and the beauty and enjoyment of our communities.” The mixing of fresh and salt water creates a highly productive area particularly important for bird and fish breeding and critical for seafood harvests. Estuaries also provide natural barriers that buffer against storms and floods.

CRWC uses data about trash collected to advocate for policy changes, such as the recently passed mattress stewardship and recycling legislation in Connecticut or an expanded bottle bill in Massachusetts. “The Source to Sea Cleanup is a hands-on event involving community groups of all kinds and all sizes. It’s a positive way for residents to have direct impact in their community, the health of the river and the Long Island Sound,” says Talbot.

This year, more than 80 registered groups are organizing over 2,000 volunteers to clean up trash from northern New Hampshire & Vermont to the Long Island Sound. To find one of the many cleanup groups in your area, including one of the many in the Lower CT River Valley and estuary region, visit http://www.ctriver.org/projects/source-to-sea-cleanup/join-a-group/.  Lead sponsors of this year’s Source to Sea Cleanup are Brookfield Renewable Energy Group, Lane Construction Corporation, NRG Middletown Power, and TransCanada. Additional support for the Cleanup in the CT River estuary region provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The Connecticut River Watershed Council has been an advocate for the 11,000 square-mile watershed of the Connecticut River since 1952. CRWC is a non-profit organization supported by individual members, public and private foundations, corporate sponsors and government grants. To learn more about CRWC, or to make a contribution to help protect the Connecticut River, visit www.ctriver.org or call 413-772-2020.

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Photos available on request – contact Angela Mrozinski, CRWC Outreach & Events Director amrozinski@ctriver.org.

Andrea Donlon, River Steward
CONNECTICUT RIVER WATERSHED COUNCIL, INC.
15 Bank Row,Greenfield MA  01301
Phone: (413)772-2020 x. 205

CONTACT:                                                                                                   

Jacqueline Talbot, CRWC Cleanup Coordinator & Lower River Steward, jtalbot@ctriver.org 860-704-0057
Angela Mrozinski, CRWC Outreach & Events Director,amrozinski@ctriver.org 413-772-2020 x204
www.ctriver.org