More than 900 volunteers clean up the James River Saturday

More than 900 volunteers among 15 sites picked up trash along the James River and several feeder creeks or streams Saturday, Sept. 14, working to make the river a cleaner place. With sites as far west as Lynchburg, and as far east as Newport News, this was the James River Advisory Council’s largest cleanup effort to date.

“The volunteer turnout for the 14th Annual James River Regional Cleanup was outstanding, and we thank everyone who rolled up their sleeves and helped to make the James a better place,” said Kimberly Conley, JRAC executive director.

Beginning at 9 a.m., the volunteers scouted the river and creeks for trash and recyclable materials. Preliminary results showed that they collected 486 bags full of trash and 225 bags of recyclable materials, including plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans, paper and cardboard. They also removed lots of tires and other large items, such as grills and deck furniture, from the river. Plastic bags continue to be a problem on the river, as today’s cleanup results showed.

Each year, the cleanup benefits from a lot of support from boaters, 25 of which participated today, including 22 paddle craft and three power boats. Boaters reach out-of-the-way areas that participants on foot cannot reach.

In addition to cleaning up trash from the river, JRAC uses its event to encourage similar efforts by individuals throughout the year.

“The James is an invaluable natural and recreational resource that our volunteers recognize as something that needs continual care,” Conley said. “Holding a one-day event helps to bring attention to that need while also shining a light on the river’s impact as a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay.”

For more information about the James River Advisory Council, visit jrac-va.org.

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