Greenfield, MA— The group of Eversource employees were eager to get dirty as they gathered to volunteer for the Connecticut River Conservancy’s 21st annual Source to Sea Cleanup on Friday & Saturday, September 22 & 23. They removed an impressive pile of junk from along the Chicopee River in Springfield, MA including a couch, chair, tires, multiple mattresses, and shopping carts. They were joined by more than 100 other groups of volunteers from businesses, faith communities, watershed groups, schools, community and youth organizations fanning out along the 410+ mile long Connecticut River and nearby rivers and streams in all four states of the Connecticut River basin (NH, VT, MA, CT).
The good news is that many clean-up groups are reporting that their sites are staying cleaner and some groups are searching for new locations to clean. “Source to Sea Cleanup volunteers have worked hard to combat litter and illegally dumped trash,” says Alicea Charamut, CRC’s River Steward in CT. “Their hard work and dedication is inspiring and makes a real difference for our rivers.” Final trash totals are still being tallied, but it’s estimated that 2,500-2,800 volunteers participated in this year’s event, including at least 30 corporate and business employee service groups. Volunteers cleaned rivers from Pittsburg, NH near the Canadian border all the way to the mouth of the Connecticut River in Old Lyme, CT. On average, 40-50 tons of trash is removed from in and near our rivers every year.
In addition to the tons of trash removed this year by volunteers, CRC uses the Source to Sea Cleanup as an opportunity to clean up large trash dump sites and remove large debris items from our rivers.
- In Stratford, NH an abandoned home falling down the bank into the Connecticut River was cleaned up and removed.
- In Greenfield, MA LANE Construction helped haul 800 tires from a tire dump along the Deerfield River. The tires were hosed off and stacked with assistance from the Greenfield Fire Department and Franklin County Sheriff’s Office to be recycled through the Bridgestone Tires4ward program. Once all tires are gone, the river bank will be restored.
- In Greenfield, MA Cleanup sponsor PV Squared Solar removed large debris from the Green River including two huge excavator tires that had to be winched from the river and rolled up the river bank.
- In Wethersfield, CT Cleanup sponsor Tighe & Bond continue to lay the ground work for the future removal of an abandoned oil offload platform in the Connecticut River. Once removed, an osprey nest platform will be restored in this location. A second abandoned dock nearby needs further investigation into who owns it and why it was left to pollute the Connecticut River.
“But our work isn’t done until we put ourselves out of the river cleanup business,” continues Charamut. While the two-day cleanup event is over for this year, CRC continues their work on trash pollution year-round. The trash data submitted by volunteers supports year-round advocacy efforts by CRC and informs policies and legislation that will keep waste out of our rivers.
CRC is working with river states on establishing extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems that hold producers responsible for free and easy disposal of items like paint, tires, mattresses, electronics, batteries and more. This will reduce the incentive for illegal dumping. CRC also supports phasing out and finding replacements for Styrofoam products—especially Styrofoam dock supports, in favor of enclosed foam or non-foam dock materials. CRC supports reducing the use of, and increasing the recycling of, plastic bottles and plastic bags and is working to keep the Bottle Bills in Massachusetts and Connecticut from being replaced by less effective programs.
“We all have a responsibility to solve this problem—individuals, manufacturers, businesses, and government,” says Andrew Fisk, CRC Executive Director. “Financial support from our Lead Sponsors – Eversource and Tighe & Bond – enables us to continue growing the Source to Sea Cleanup so that it has an impact beyond the two days of clean up.”
“At Eversource we value our environment and take great care to promote conservation and carefully manage natural and cultural resources,” said Eversource President of Corporate Citizenship Rod Powell. “The Source to Sea Clean Up is a meaningful way for our employees to put this environmental ethic to work while making this regional treasure a cleaner, safer place for all to enjoy.”
“The Source to Sea Cleanup is a great way for Tighe & Bond to give back and contribute to cleaning up our local environment,” said Tighe & Bond President/CEO Dave Pinsky. “We appreciate the opportunity to help achieve a cleaner Connecticut River, and protect it for future generations.”
Since 1952, Connecticut River Conservancy has been the voice for the Connecticut River watershed, from source to sea. We collaborate with partners across four states to protect and advocate for your rivers and educate and engage communities. We bring people together to prevent pollution, improve habitat, and promote enjoyment of your river and its tributary streams. Healthy rivers support healthy economies. To learn more about CRC, or to make a contribution to help protect the Connecticut River, visit www.ctriver.org.