Greenfield, MA July 13, 2010. It’s illegal. It’s environmentally damaging, and it creates a hazard for children and other river-users. Now, the Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC) is asking for your help in identifying trash illegally dumped along the banks and bends of local streams. “Many of our communities have spots that are trash magnets that locals know to avoid. The problem is that this trash creates a danger to wildlife and river users alike,” says Jacqueline Talbot, River Steward and Cleanup Coordinator for CRWC. “We’re collecting tips on hidden trash so we can have volunteers ready to tackle those sites in the fall,” says Talbot. The Council’s 14th Source to Sea Cleanup will take place on Saturday, October 2, 2010.

Over the past 13 years the volunteer Source to Sea Cleanup effort has removed more than 600 tons of trash, tires and derelict appliances from riverbanks in communities throughout the 410-mile long Connecticut River watershed. That effort has helped produce stream-sides and river edges that are now staying cleaner in many places, “but we’re looking to find the lesser-known river spots where debris may be hidden by woods and shrubs,” Talbot says. “Knowing which sites really need attention ahead of time will make the cleanup more strategic and worthwhile for all involved.”

Last year, despite predicted heavy rains, over 2,000 volunteers turned out at sites reaching from near the New Hampshire border with Canada to Long Island Sound. They hauled off over 85 tons of illegally-dumped debris. “We are definitely seeing riverbanks improve because of that work,” says CRWC Executive Director Chelsea Gwyther, “Now we want to piggy-back on those gains by having folks who know their local corner of the watershed tell us where the hidden dumping sites are.”

To let CRWC know about a trash site, visit the Council’s website at: www.ctriver.org to fill out a simple form about the site or contact them at cleanup@ctriver.org. People interested in volunteering for CRWC’s Source to Sea Cleanup can also visit the Council’s website for information on registration, participating groups, the 2009 “Trash Tally”, and sponsorship opportunities. Alternatively, call Jacqueline Talbot, Cleanup Coordinator, with site tips or questions at: (860) 704-0057. CRWC advises concerned citizens who witness any illegal trash dumping “in-the-making” to contact their local police and town authorities immediately.

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Press information contact: Jacqueline Talbot, Cleanup Coordinator and River Steward in CT at: (860) 704-0057, or jtalbot@ctriver.org; or, Chelsea Gwyther, Executive Director: (413) 772-2020, X 202; or cgwyther@ctriver.org.

The Connecticut River Watershed Council has been a nonprofit advocate for the 11,000 square-mile watershed of the Connecticut River since 1952.