Archive for August, 2010

Captains White Water Adventure

Alright, so this doesn’t have anything to do with cleaning the Shenandoah, but I thought I would let you good folks in on a pretty well kept secret. Twice a year, there is a dam release of the Potomac  in what I believe is Luke Maryland. This ladies and gentleman is an intense thing.
              I had never been white water rafting before and was only used to the calm walkable waters of the North Fork of the Shenandoah, but after about two years of coaxing by a good buddy of mine I decided to take the plunge into the world of white water. Now the release only lifts the water level to where at it’s best can only be classified as a healthy class two, but as I’ve said before I’m used to the 100 CFM of the Shenandoah with no class and certainly wasn’t expecting what 1,000 CFM and class two rapids had in store for me. Of course I’m told that I will have a better “ride” if I take my sit on top kayak that I usually use for leisure in my spare time, not suspecting that I was being lured into a trap to be drowned.
     The experience was a good one and I only fliped my boat 6 times in 3 hours, got beat up just a little, and lived on the fuel called adrenaline for an entire afternoon. The whole day broadened my views on the river and the powers of water, and it certainly increased my respect for the power of nature. So if you ever get the chance to do some white water rafting just remember two things: Your buddies want to see you flip, and don’t take a sit on top kayak.
    Enjoy these pictures of our day, there aren’t actually any pictures of the white water parts because I was too afraid for my life to snap any on the way down.



Shenandoah County Fair Tonight!

Alright people we are in the public eye. Tonight and every night for the next week we will be hanging around the Shenandoah County Fair in an exhibition booth trying to spread the news about Earth Korps and the Shenandoah River clean-up poject. Come by and see us. We will have pictures on sight as well as lots of cool stuff we’ve found in the river and information on how you can become involved. We’ll be in the old building down near the rides, so drop on by.


“Keeping” Dirt Where it Belongs!
Stormwater450pxWideDirt rushing off of construction sites is a top polluter of our local rivers and streams. We have been fighting for reforms to keep the dirt on construction sites and out of our water. In 2009, we opened up previously sealed pollution plans and maps to all Virginians, allowing them to see how site operators planned to keep pollution out of state waters. This is a victory with costs to no one and benefits for everyone.

In 2010, we have not been as successful in pushing for clean water reform. We settled our challenge to a state permit last week on stormwater rushing off construction sites and into Virginia waters. Our concerns were easy enough to understand:

  • we need to keep pollution away from our rivers and streams, especially those that are already over-burdened with pollution
  • Virginians should have adequate notice when a construction project is coming to their neighborhood. Knowledge is power!

Virginia put off addressing our concerns for at least the next year to two years, despite our assertion that the permit violates existing law. We are looking at all our options as we move forward, and hope that you will help us put pressure on Virginia to clean up our waters. We’ll keep you posted on how you can help, but in the meantime you can help us grow our supporters by forwarding this message to a friend!

Sen. Cardin, Please Save the Clean Water Act
Over the past several months, Waterkeepers in the Chesapeake Bay have been closely watching the Chesapeake Clean Water and Ecosystem Restoration Act of 2009, introduced by Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland. Unfortunately, in its current form, the bill will end up doing more harm than good. The bill weakens the Clean Water Act, a tool we rely on to stop pollution from going into our waters.

If the bill is passed, it will weaken controls on polluters and, in some cases, allow them to pollute more! We understand bills only get passed through compromise, but weakening the Clean Water Act will only do harm. Please take a moment to tell Senator Cardin, who is a champion of the Bay, that weakening the Clean Water Act won’t help the Bay, or any of the rivers and streams that feed it! Don’t know what to say? Get informed by reading our questions and answers!

Jeff Made the Honor Roll!
Shenandoah Riverkeeper Jeff Kelble was named to the Izaak Walton League’s National Honor Roll in July. Every year, the league recognizes individuals and organizations who made a difference in conserving outdoor America in their local communities and states, as well as on a national level. The Izaak Walton League was formed in 1922 to save outdoor America for future generations. Way to go, Jeff!

What Kind of Curve is This?
A recent report card gave the Bay’s health a “C” for 2009. The Bay’s health is average, so I guess that makes it okay, right? Wrong. The excellent data collection and scoring in the report was ruined by the nonsensical grades. The Bay’s health score for 2009 is 46%. Even the Potomac River, which has improved, only scored 45%. Can you imagine taking a test where you score 46% and still get a “C”? More to the point, the 2009 health score is nearly identical to the 1986 health score (45%)–despite millions of dollars spent on cleanup programs. It reminds us that twenty years of voluntary and state-led approaches, including not properly enforcing the Clean Water Act the way it was meant to be enforced, have failed to make any improvement to the Bay’s overall health.

Welcome to Our Newest Corporate Donor 
We would like welcome GTSI, our newest corporate donor. GTSI paired their donation with a “casual Friday” in support of Potomac Riverkeeper. Employees paid a small fee to dress down, and the proceeds went to clean our Nation’s River! We thought this was an inventive and fun way to support a good cause. Please ask your employer if he or she is interested in hosting a “casual Friday” as well. Email Robin for more information!

Pictures From Redbanks Clean

Alright folks as promised here are the pictures from the horror clean yesterday. I should have taken pictures of all the loose garbage still there. Perhaps a kayak adventure to show you the rest here soon. Enjoy!
P.S. the landfill was closed today so we couldn’t get an acccurate measure of the weights, but sometime this week hopefully I can slide down there for a bit.

Don’t forget to come see us at the Shenandoah county fair from the 27th to sept 3rd.


             Have you ever had a nightmare folks? No seriously one that’s the worst thing ever. Well I did today. I dreamt that I went on a float to clean the river and the map really misled me on the distance, and then the water was the lowest I’ve ever seen it and I ended up dragging a boat for a 7 hour float.
           Oh, thats right that actually happened, and it happened to me and two other guys today. Here’s the plot, we were supposed to go for a nice day of work because a new guy was starting so I didn’t want to kill the guy his first day. Well as I said before the map lied to me and our two hour float turned into a 7 hour float, and there was not much floating to it. We ended up dragging these boats almost the whole way. The worst part is that this area is so polluted that I could prbably take a ten man crew on that float ten times and still not have it all the way cleaned up.
Our jon boat has at least 400 pounds of trash in it, and I know, I can hear you saying “yea right, how’d it float?” well to answer your question, not very well at all. It was so loaded down that I had to half sit and half stand on this great big tire that was in the middle. 
                Getting back to the other trash that is still there. There is a spot with probably 20 tires, a broke up pop -up camper, another huge culvert, a refridgerator ( we got one, but didn’t have room for the other), and so much other scrap metal you’d need a tractor trailer to haul it all away.
 I will put the pictures up from this great adventure up tomorrow, but for tonight it’s straight to bed for this captain.

Thank you Pirtle andRyan for a hard days work. I could not have done this without you guys. That’s a fact.
Untill next time. This is a very tired Captain speaking.


Float and Clean Tomorrow

Well it’s about time folks, about time to do an old fashioned river float and clean. You see alot of times when we do these cleans we’re at a pull-off or some sort of public access point. That’s where most of the garbage is, but you and I both know that the pollution isn’t just on the shores but alot times is in the hard to reach places, the nooks and crannys hidden  just blindside of where you’d think to look going around the bend. That’s why we’re goin out to do this the right way, not that we haven’t been all season. The Shenandoah, she’s got alot of trash and it’s going to take alot of people alot of hard hours work to make a significant difference.
     We’ve got a new youngster starting with us tomorrow, so I figured I’d break him in right, and really show him what saving the environment is really about. You think 8 hours pushing a pen is hard, try 8 hours with a shovel, an oar, some metal, maybe even some snakes is. Yea that’s right I said snakes, and If  I’d had known better I would have thought that one through a little more before I started this campaign, but that’s neither here nor there. You take the good with the bad, and don’t let em bite you anywhere tender.
        Also just wanted to let eveyone know that there are several big organized clean-ups coming up from folks like Friends of the North Fork, and the Department of Inland Game and Fisheries that you don’t want to miss. So keep your eyes peeled for those. Don’t worry, I’ll give you plenty of notice. I’m just running a little short on time right now.
Untill next time folks. This is your Captain speaking.


 Alright first and foremost. I did not write this. It was in the last few pages of a novel I had read one time called ” From The Bottom Up,” by Chad Pregracke the founder of Living Lands and Waters, which is probably one of the most successful non-profit organizations in this field of picking pollution out of rivers that I have ever come across. So that should cover all the plagiarism issues on the board. I just though this list seemed like a good thing to be shared with John Q Public if they didn’t happen to read the other 288 pages in the book. So the list is as follows;
                                                              Starting Your Own Crusade: 13 Tips

1. Get involved with your cause, and not just by joining but by becoming active. Serve on a committee, help with fund-raising, coordinate an event, do whatever you can-but do something

2. Work with what you have at the time.

3. If you start with nothing but an idea, then there’s nothing to lose. What have you really lost by making a phone call if someone says no?

4. Don’t expect anything from anybody- you’ll just set yourself up for disappointment and despair.

5.Set high goals but realize that the bigger goal, the more persistence, dedication, focus, and sacrifice it will take to achieve it. Big goals are accomplished only by taking small steps, and it starts with a single small action.

6. Work as hard as you can every day and know that you can only do so much. As long as you’ve worked as hard as you can, then that’s all you can do.

7. Plant trees. Lots of trees

8. Your greatest weakness could be your greatest asset. It depends on how you look at it.

9. It’s who you know, yes, but it’s also what you don’t know yet.

10. Pick your battles and try to stay focused, because there are so many different problems that you could easily become distracted.

11. Don’t expect the government to take care of something, We are the government.

12. If you’re just starting out and someone tells you to have your peope call their people, say. “Okay my mom will call tomorrow.”

13. Don’t forget to water your trees

These are the words of wisdom from the man who has pulled 15,991 tires, 9,832 balls, 3,970 steel drums, 2,092 five-gallon buckets, 27,172 bags of trash and about two other pages of huge numbers in fine print of trash out of the Mississippi, Illinois, and other rivers and creeks around his area. If you can’t learn something from him, then just give up. Untill next time folks, this is your captain speaking

Alright folks, so we got a bit of a late start today but me and my always supporting comrad J.R. decided to head back to the unfinished business we had waiting for us at the old lonely dump site at the North end of Mt. Jackson. We took our usual course of my “secret” put -in spot and then paddled upstream about an eighth of a mile. There was a bad taste in my mouth of the stove left behind from the last time I was there due to a brand new hole in my ever trusty jon boat. Nevertheless we saw through and did what we had to do today and ended up getting the stove, a bunch of other scrap metal, a great big old stove pipe, and a whole bag of other glass and uneccessary debris. Probaly about 300 to 400 pounds of junk. Not bad for just a few hours of work. It is safely at rest in the old Earth Korps scrap metal pile that will be taken to be recycled as soon as our trusty 4-wheel drive lender truck is out of the hospital. (Get well soon)
Earth Korps will be back in action Saturday as we are having a new youg man pursue some community service hours with us.
Again I would like to thank those of you who are participating in our 5 dollar fundraiser campaign. Your names will be on the website soon. We’ve just had alot going on. Your support is much appreciated and myself and the environment thank you. You are helping us to buy the supplies and provide the man power we need in order to clean his great river. Here are the pictures  of our adventures today. Sorry theres not many, and of course I forgot to take one with the load actually on the truck like I always do, but trust me if were gonna put it on a boat then were gonna load it up on the truck and dispose of it properly. Sailors word.

P.S be on the look out for a giant public clean-up being advertised here soon. We can use all of the help we can get.

Howdy folks,

Just thought I would let you in on a new hot tip in this years campaign to raise funds for removing pollution from the Shenandoah River. We just set up shop with two local outdoor outfitters who have gladly agreed to help us sell the left over shirts from this  springs Shenandoah Riverside Festival. These two places are Murrays Fly Shop and Blue Canoe Crew. Thank you both for your continuing support in this battle against the pollution of our river. These items are hot and they’ll be going fast. So folks don’t be shy and go on down to either Murrays Fly Shop or Blue Canoe Crew and pick up your Shenandoah Riverside Festival shirts today!

Also you can now track Earth Korps’ progress on facebook at!/pages/Earth-Korps/151266444884543?ref=ts 

 Yessir looks like the old captain is getting himself an eye for weight because I just got back from the landfill and according to my filled weight and the trucks empty weight we did indeed get out another 500 lbs of trash out of the Shenandoah River. So good for us, and all the folks that support us.

We might have to do this again on Sunday, that stove left behind is really bugging me.  Hope to see you all again soon, and don’t forget to keep reading because the adventures are only gonna get greater.

Well, off to patch the new hole in the boat. Until next time folks.


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