Formerly the CT River Watershed Council|

Source to Sea Cleanup

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Thank you to everyone who got your hands dirty for cleaner rivers!

2016 Cleanup Chronicle
2016 Photo Contest

What is the Source to Sea Cleanup?

Source to Sea logo

The Source to Sea Cleanup is a yearly trash cleanup of the Connecticut River system all along the four-state watershed (NH, VT, MA, CT) – rivers & streams, shorelines, parks, boat launches, trails and more. Each fall, volunteer group leaders coordinate local cleanup sites where thousands of participants of all ages and abilities spend a few hours picking up trash. We all have a responsibility to solve this trash problem – individuals, manufacturers, businesses, and government. By participating in the Source to Sea Cleanup, you are part of the solution for cleaner rivers.

CRC uses trash data collected during the cleanup to support legislation and other efforts of keeping trash out of our rivers. That could mean expanding bottle bills to put a deposit on more plastic bottles, making curbside recycling easier and more accessible, and requiring tire manufacturers run free tire disposal programs to discourage illegal tire dumping.



Curious what’s been accomplished in 20 years of cleaning our rivers? Check out this infographic for a fun overview. (Does not include 2016 trash totals.)

Hard Work, Real Fun, True Impact


The 20th annual Source to Sea Cleanup on September 23 & 24, 2016 was a wonderful success!

Nearly 2,200 volunteers in 151 cleanup groups joined the 20th annual Source to Sea Cleanup. These groups spanned nearly the entire length of the CT River from near the Canadian border down to the mouth of the river in Old Lyme, CT and included many tributaries along the way.

Your hard work removes some amazing junk from our rivers. In 2016, the 50+ tons of trash collected included over 21,000 beverage containers and at least 587 tires. Volunteers use human power and sometimes heavy equipment to pull out everything from recyclables, fishing equipment and food waste to mattresses, televisions and refrigerators. You can read about all the wonderful accomplishments in the 2016 Cleanup Chronicle, including the list of groups that participated and the tally of trash pulled from the river.

The water is cleaner, river banks are safer and the wildlife are happier thanks to the generous efforts of the sponsors, businesses, watershed organizations, Girl Scout and Boy Scout Troops, school groups, municipalities, and community members who make the event possible.

How To Get Involved

Do you know of an area that could use the help of Source to Sea Cleanup volunteers to cleanup some trash? Report the site to us.

Report Trash Site

It’s never too early to start planning for the 2017 Source to Sea Cleanup and sharing your plans with us. There are a variety of ways you can be involved in the event; take a look at the typical roles below. More information will be available when registration opens in late-spring 2017, but please feel free to be in touch with any questions or to discuss your 2017 Cleanup plans. We love to hear from you! Contact us at or 413-772-2020.

  • Group Leaders find sites in your area that need cleaning, recruit and organize local volunteers for your site, and arrange trash pickup for your site. Group leaders are responsible for registering your group for the Source to Sea Cleanup, gathering signed waivers for all volunteers and tracking the trash you collect. You don’t have to do it alone, but your leadership is invaluable.
  • Participants join a local Source to Sea Cleanup group in their region. Once registration opens in late-spring, a map of registered groups will be posted here to help you find a cleanup near you. You can help your local cleanup group in a variety of ways. There is a role for all. Come out for the day to help your river!
  • Volunteers are needed to help out leading up to the event. You can help us pack and/or deliver supplies to local groups, scout for cleanup sites and more. Ask us about how you can help.
  • Explorers who notice sites in need of cleaning can report potential trash sites to us any time throughout the year.
  • Sponsors offer critical support to the Source to Sea Cleanup. To learn more about how to become a Cleanup sponsor, contact us at 413-772-2020.

Are you interested in educational resources to connect your students to the Source to Sea cleanup? Check out the video, book and poems created by K-6 students as part of the River of Words program to inspire their peers and engage their communities in the annual cleanup.

Sign up for CRC’s e-news to receive news about the Cleanup and other ways you can help protect your river.

Be sure to select ‘Source to Sea Cleanup News’ to get email updates specifically about this event.


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