RHA’s giant Stream Cleanup event returns on April 23Apr 12, 2022 04:22PM ● By Joe Nicastro
As New Jersey’s Covid-19 cases continue to drop, the nonprofit Raritan Headwaters Association (RHA) is bringing back its massive Stream Cleanup event without restrictions on Saturday, April 23, from 9 a.m. to noon.
“This year we’re essentially returning to normal,” said Zak Kircher, RHA’s Stream Cleanup coordinator and land steward. “This is our 32nd annual cleanup, and we are hoping to get a lot of local volunteers signed up to improve the health of the watershed.”
In recent years, over 1,600 volunteers have signed up for the Stream Cleanup, which is timed to coincide with Earth Week. Volunteers included individuals, families, scout troops, churches, businesses, civic groups, schools, and environmental commissions.
“The Stream Cleanup honors the spirit of Earth Day, bringing people together to help the environment,” said Cindy Ehrenclou, RHA’s executive director. “Not only does it beautify local stream corridors, but it also protects drinking water supplies and prevents litter from washing downstream to the Raritan Bay and Atlantic Ocean, where it becomes a hazard to marine life.”
In 2020, as New Jersey went into coronavirus lockdown, the Stream Cleanup was cancelled – although some local residents individually cleaned up areas in their neighborhoods. The Stream Cleanup resumed last year, but with a limited number of volunteers at each site and masking requirements.
This year, RHA is looking for volunteers to pick up trash and recyclables at over 40 stream sites in the upper Raritan River watershed, which covers 470 square miles in Hunterdon, Somerset, and Morris counties. Masks are not required for this fun, important, outdoor event.
Already, Kircher has been contacted by many longtime cleanup volunteers who are eager to come back. “We’ve heard from a lot of local Boy Scout and Girl Scout groups, and some church groups,” he said. “There are some site leaders who have been coming for over 20 years and they’re very dedicated.”
To register, go to www.raritanheadwaters.org/stream-cleanup/ and choose from a list of available stream sites. All volunteers will receive gloves, trash and recycling bags, hand sanitizer, and data information sheets.
The cleanup will be held rain or shine. While advance registration is required at most sites, walk-ins will be allowed at two sites with large parking areas, the Spruce Run and Round Valley reservoirs. For more information, contact Zak Kircher at [email protected].