Guest Post by Karen Zeiter, Rock Creek Conservancy
Rock Creek Conservancy is a nonprofit group working to protect the lands and waters of Rock Creek and revitalize Rock Creek Park for people to treasure and enjoy. We work through a combination of education, advocacy, and action. Our strategy is to build partnerships with government agencies, nonprofit organizations, businesses, institutions, community groups, and residents to work together to preserve Rock Creek for present and future generations.
Each spring, we organize and promote the Rock Creek Extreme Cleanup, with trash cleanups at over 50 locations along the 33-mile length of Rock Creek. Our goal is total stream cleanup of Rock Creek and its tributaries, the parks connected to Rock Creek,and the neighborhoods near Rock Creek where trash originates. We work closely with the National Park Service and Montgomery County Parks.
The Extreme Cleanup is part of the Alice Ferguson Foundation’s annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup, which occurs in four states and the District of Columbia in April. We do our part for a trash-free Potomac River by cleaning up Rock Creek, which flows into the Potomac near the Watergate Complex and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.
In the past four years, volunteers have collected a combined total of nearly 9,500 bags of litter, 60 tons of junk, 675 tires, and over 27,500 plastic bags. As a result of these efforts, many locations are much cleaner than before.
But trash still accumulates through littering and illegal dumping of large items, such as furniture and construction waste. When it rains, litter—mostly plastic bags and bottles—from the street gutters in surrounding neighborhoods wash into the storm sewer system that drains straight to the nearest creek.
This year will be our fifth Annual Extreme Cleanup, and we need your help to make it the best ever! Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro, we want you alongside us this April!
Check out the 2013 Extreme Cleanup Map for sites that need leaders and other sites that are volunteer ready. Let us know if you would like to lead a group cleanup or join a group in your neighborhood or a park near you.