Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Master Watershed Stewards From 4 Counties Help Purge Plastic From The Susquehanna River

By Casey Clauser, Master Watershed Steward Coordinator, Dauphin, Lebanon & Lancaster Counties

On October 31st and November 7th, the
Master Watershed Steward programs from Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon, and York counties came together to make a difference in local waters!

Master Watershed stewards partnered with local water organizations to host the first Annual Plastic Purse of the Lower Susquehanna.  The clean-up was held in the Lake Clarke region of the Susquehanna River, near Wrightsville, [York County]. 

The organizations included: Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper Association, Watershed Alliance of York, and the York County Coalition for Clean Waters

Over the course of the two weekends, over 125 volunteers came out to clean up the river and be a part of the event!

During the clean-up, volunteers picked up trash along the shoreline, primarily at Kline’s Run Park and other shorelines in proximity to the Susquehanna Boat Works and the Lower Lock 2.  

They scanned the shorelines by foot to pick up trash and debris. While others paddled in kayaks and canoes, or rode in power boats to reach trash. 

The majority of the volunteers were ferried to nearby Shad and Grace Islands to tackle trash that had been collecting over the years. Volunteers diligently worked to clean the area and remove trash that would have otherwise continued to breakdown and pollute the water and land.

Over the course of the two weekends, two large dumpsters were filled with a variety of plastic, glass bottles, cans, styrofoam, and various forms of trash and debris. 

Over 30 plastic 55-gallon barrels and 50 tires, many with their rims intact, were also found and properly disposed. 

The team even had a little fun near Halloween, creating a Trash Monster competition. Volunteers assembled all kinds of monsters including a trash snowman, robot, and giant monster mouth.

A huge thank you to all of the volunteers and partner organizations for making the Plastic Purge a huge success! The organizers of the event are already thinking about the 2nd Annual Plastic Purge! 

The Master Watershed Stewards were also happy to work together on a common goal, all while being safe and socially distancing. 

Master Watershed Steward Monique Dykman stated, “While cleaning the Susquehanna during the Purging Plastic event, I felt a real sense of river-community, as motor boats helped kayakers transport the garbage haul back to shore. It was a great feeling, coming together for a common goal - and making such a difference! I'm looking forward to next year's event!”

[How Clean Is Your Stream?

[DEP’s Interactive Report Viewer allows you to zoom in on your own stream or watershed to find out how clean your stream is or if it has impaired water quality using the latest information in the draft 2020 Water Quality Report.]

-- Master Watershed Steward Program Invites You To Support A Local Watershed Steward Now And During Dec. 1 Giving Tuesday

(Reprinted from the Nov. 24 Penn State Extension Watershed Winds newsletter.  Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)

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[Posted: November 24, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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