PARKERSBURG - Preparations are under way for the 2011 River Sweep, an annual cleanup of more than 3,000 miles of shoreline from Pennsylvania to Illinois.
The one-day cleanup effort, sponsored by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission and the Foundation for Ohio River Education, will take place June 18 at several sites along the Ohio River in Wood and Washington counties.
Jeanne Ison, program manager with ORSANCO, said volunteers are needed.
Jeanne J. Ison, program manager with ORSANCO, displays a volunteer T-shirt in front of Worthington Creek. (Photo by Natalee Seely)
"The Ohio River has improved so much with this effort. Years ago, the banks of the river were littered with all kinds of debris, everything from toilets and tires to stoves and furniture," Ison said. "In order to change people's perception of the Ohio River and make it more beautiful and less polluted, we started the River Sweep in 1989. It's the longest running river cleanup effort in the country."
Last year, nearly 20,000 volunteers participated, with around 700 from the Mid-Ohio Valley. About 10,000 tons of trash were collected.
"We need all the volunteers we can get," said Ison. "Our participation levels always vary year by year, depending on the weather. We're hoping for a nice day."
Site locations in Wood County are Corning Park in Parkersburg and Williamstown Boat Landing in Williamstown, where volunteers will work from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
In Washington County, volunteers can meet at Civitan Park at 7:30 a.m. in Belpre to catch the ferry to Blennerhassett Island. The second site in Washington County is Devol's Dam, where volunteers will clean from 9 a.m. to noon.
Snacks and water will be provided, and all volunteers will go home with a T-shirt.
"We've had some major flooding this year, so we're expecting a lot of barrels, lawn furniture and boat docks," Ison said. "Over the years, volunteers have picked up some amazing things along the banks. Once we found a telephone booth. Another year, a wedding dress was picked up."
Volunteers are encouraged to wear old clothes, sturdy boots and work gloves. Trash bags are provided.
For a complete list of site locations along the Ohio River, visit www.orsanco.org/river-sweep.