Visible Trash Survey

We invite you to join the “Trash Team” at the Alice Ferguson Foundation (AFF) as a Visible Trash Survey Volunteer Monitor. The Potomac River is used for recreation and as a major water source for people in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. Four-hundred years ago, the river was clean, clear and trash-free. As human population has increased, water pollution has become a major issue. Our Potomac River is polluted with trash. We believe the river can be trash- free and restored to its original beauty and health.

The Visible Trash Survey (VTS) is an important tool for monitoring the sources and composition of land-based trash in our watershed. Analyzing the trash data collected through this program provides information in directing efforts and resources towards trash and litter reduction.

The survey involves categorizing and counting visible trash along a 200 foot length along a body of water, road or land, within the confines of the Potomac River watershed. VTS volunteers spend approximately an hour of their time per site and you may certainly monitor more than one site. (Please note that you must receive permission by the landowner to monitor a site located on private property.) The forms for reporting your findings are available for download in the menu to the right.

While we all do our part to keep the Potomac River clean, this purpose of this survey is data collection. The results that you submit will provide valuable input for the Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup or the Anacostia River Cleanup.

It is our sincere hope that your involvement as a VTS Volunteer fosters a heightened sense of ownership and stewardship that will last a lifetime. We thank you for your time, dedication, and partnership as we work together for a cleaner, healthier Potomac River.