Archive for September, 2010

Hawkinstown Clean-up

Hey folks,

Today I was supposed to do a float and clean, but due to a last minute wrench thrown into our plans I ended up having to go it alone, (no problem buddy). Anyway I decided to just drive along the Norht Fork and check out a few spots that I had been meaning to take a closer look at.
To my horror and delight there was trash everywhere I looked. So I started cleaning. The first spot I came to was  a place that has been underwater many times and is only revieled now because of the low water levels. I know there is a ton more stuff there, but the plant life is so overgrown that it is hard to scan the ground the way one can on a rocky shore. I will return there many times.
This time though I found two long sections of fencing that would be a great thing for some animal to get tangled up in, a few tires, a bag of rubbish, and an old trough of some sort.
        I continued down the road to find another spot that had a nice little path cut all the way to the river. I found some big metal thing that appeared to be a track off of an old piece of machinery or something, and a few other things.
I decided to move on to the next spot when I came across a bear track that was fresh since this morning. Unfortunately I’m still a little shaken by my last bear experience.
          The third and final spot I came to was obviously a common dump spot because there were small paths where people had walked, but not all the way to the river and there was trash everywhere. I collected another two bags of trash there including items such as wine bottles, beer cans, and multiple open quarts of oil. Another interesting thing that caught my eye was the mass amount of bones everywhere. There must have been six carcasses and random scatters of bones everywhere. I took a picture of two of the skulls that I found since they were so intact. Definately deer skulls though.
         Here are just a few pictures of my collection of trash I got today. I haven’t gotten to the dump to weigh in yet, but the count looks to be at least 500 pounds of trash with 6 tires the two rolls of fence, 3 bags of trash, the metal trough, and the metal track. I will post the official weights on when I get them weighed in. Untill next time folks, thanks for all your support and keep on reading.


September News From Potomac River Keeper


Potomac Improves, but Still Needs (River)keepers!


Last week, the USGS released a report that indicates the tidal portion of the Potomac River is the healthiest it’s been in 50 years. This is great news!

The improvements show what happens when the Clean Water Act requires large polluters (like the Blue Plains Wastewater Treatment Plant) to use the best pollution-cutting technology at their facilities.

Potomac Riverkeeper spoke to several news outlets, including: The Washington Post, The Washington Examiner, and Fox 5 News about the implications of this study. Robin was even asked back to do a live in-studio interview on Fox 5. Potomac Riverkeeper is widely recognized as a leading voice on the Potomac’s health.

One of Potomac Riverkeeper’s main goals is to enforce the Clean Water Act. The Potomac is getting better because we’re using the Clean Water Act the way it was meant to be used. Let’s keep it up!

Don’t Frack with Rockingham County…
At least for now. Citing “local resistance,” the Carrizo Oil and Gas Company has dropped its interest in exploring for natural gas in Bergton, VA.

The company is moving on to sites where there is less opposition to fracking, the process that pumps millions of gallons of chemical-laced water deep into the ground (1 mile!) in order to extract natural gas (aka: methane).

Shenandoah Riverkeeper was one of three environmental groups that recently pointed out a few potential problems with Carrizo’s plan (or lack thereof). One huge problem is Carrizo has no plan to clean up a drilling accident (sound familiar?). Other problems include the well’s proximity to areas that flood and risks posed by regurgitated fracking water.

Technology has far outpaced regulations. We’re working with other groups to demand that Virginia develop regulations specific to natural gas drilling in Marcellus Shale so that our water resources are protected. We’ll keep you posted on Carrizo. In the mean time, you can learn more about the risks involved with fracking by watching this video!

Introducing Whit Overstreet


Last month, Whit Overstreet joined our team as the Membership and Administrative Assistant. He replaces Nadia Elguindy, a talented member of the Potomac Riverkeeper staff who has moved on to graduate school. Whit comes to our organization from American Rivers, where he worked as a government relations intern. You can learn more about Whit and other members of the Potomac Riverkeeper staff on our website. Please help us in welcoming our newest addition!

Meet our Staff in YOUR Neck of the Woods!
Thurs., Sept. 23–Join Jeff as he and USGS Biologist Vicki Blazer speak out on the causes of the fish kills and the bizarre “intersex” condition in the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. Learn more…

Sat. Sept. 25–Come meet Whit, our newest staff member, at St. Mary’s Riverfest. This great event features live music, food, and fun! Learn more…

Mon. Oct. 18–Learn how to stop runoff from construction sites with Brent, during his Get the DIRT Out training in Hedgesville, WV. Learn more…

Various Dates–Potomac Riverkeeper staff will submit comments on the new pollution budget for the Chesapeake Bay. We’ll be at hearings in DC, MD, VA and WV! These are open to the public, so please stand with us!

Around the Watershed THIS MONTH…
Operation Clean Water–THIS SUNDAY!!
Sun., Sept. 19

Get free canoeing and shuttle transportation in exchange for two bags of trash brought in from the Shenandoah River! Our partners, Shenandoah River Outfitters, Downriver Canoe Company, and Front Royal Outfitters are providing this great opportunity. Get out and give back at the same time. Please contact one of the outfitters for more information on how YOU can get involved!

Nationwide Drug Take-Back Day
Drug Enforcement Agency and local partners
Sat., Sept. 25

When prescription drugs are flushed down the toilet, or otherwise disposed of improperly, they can contaminate our water supply. Join the Drug Enforcement Administration and local partners at sites across the country, where you can safely get rid of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked. Find a location near you!

Appalachia Rising
Sat., Sept. 25–Mon., Sept. 27

Join Appalachia Rising!, a national response to the unmitigated destruction of Appalachia’s mountains, air and water through mountaintop removal coal mining. Learn more!

My Day At The Trash Summit In D.C.

Hello there folks. I just got back from the 2010 annual Potomac Trash Summit in Washinton D.C. It was a good time, however a little slow and now I know why I leave the politics up to the suits. We enjoyed our continental breakfast and listened until lunch time and then decided to take some time to check out our nations capital.(We being my brother and I). So we walked from the trash summit about  5 miles or so and looked at everything. We saw the  Washington Monument, The Wall, The Smithsonian, The Museum of Natural History and of course the White House. Of course I didn’t take nearly the adequate amount of pictures I should have but I do have some that you might enjoy. So enjoy.


Well scratch the pictures we had some technical difficulties. If I can figure it out I’ll post them.

Alright, get this folks. From one day with 30 canoes, an entire boyscout troop, and a really dirty piece of river. We pulled an amazing 7,860 pounds of trash which = 3.93 tons and and 150 tires out of the South fork of the Shenandoah River. Now that’s some serious work. Nice job everybody. Shenandoah Outfitters sure does know how to organize a clean-up.


Shenandoah Outfitters Clean

Alright, today we had a blast. I woke up early this morning to make 50 minute drive to Page County to go and help out with the Shenandoah Outfitters annual river clean-up.  As I pulled into this place it was hard not to take notice of how nice of a set-up they actually had. Two school busses were there already loaded down with anxious volunteers and towing behind them canoe trailers loaded down with 12 canoes each. Also there was another truck hauling another 12 canoes. Apparently alot of people were really excited about helping them out with this because of the great turn out. There was even a boy scout troop.
 We pulled onto the road and drove for what seemed like 20 minutes to our put in spot, which the name of is for some reason escaping me right now. Anyway it was supposed to be a 5 mile float on a stretch that was  not their usuall clean-up float. So there was guaranteed to be alot of trash. As soon as we put in I found a huge tire and one of those machines that converts dollars into quarters that someone obviously stole and dumped into the river. We ended up loading those items up on the bus while it was still there because that was a good 300 lbs that I didn’t need to start my float off with.
      We ended up taking about 6 hours to complete our float and while I’m still waiting on the results of the weights, I know this is going to be huge because for one I counted 39 tires in one load and there were 3 loads of those, and we also filled up a huge truck with sides on it. Some of the strange items we found include the coin machine, a swimming pool, a slide, a bag of burnt bones, a car battery, a huge 6×8 sign, a toy shark, an arrow, an old iron, and really tons of others stuff that I probably don’t even know about because there were so many people.
    Here are some of the pictures I took and I will hopefully have more sent to me with the weights in the next few days, which I will post. So enjoy our photos and stay tuned for more info.

Alright ladies and gentelmen. We had a great time at the Edinburg Ole’ Time Festival this year. I encourage anyone who missed out on this event to do their homework and come to see everyone next year. We saw some spectacular music by a great band called ” The Shakedown”, and also had a great time talking with our booth neighbors Friends Of  The North Fork and Civilian Conservation Corps. We ended up having to tear down our booth early because we are obligated to be at a much needed clean-up on the South Fork tomorrow with Shenandoah River Outfitters. No worries though because you can see us at “Family Fun Day” at the Shenandoah County Fair grounds on October 17th. which also happens to be my ( the Captains) birthday. So come on out and support your favorite local charity.  Here are some photos of our booth and some of the other events that took place.
Untill tomorrow with some sweet pics of our clean-up. This is your captain speaking. Also be sure to check us out on Facebook and show your support.


Edinburg Ole’ Time Festival.

Alright ladies and gentlemen just thought I would let everyone know that if they’ve been missing their old pals at Earth Korps we have decided to take a spot down by the creek near the Edinburg mill this weekend at the Edinburg Ole’ Festival. This is certain to be a great time due to our wonderful weather. I will be following up shortly after with some pictures of our fun. Also don’t for get to come out and clean up with the Shenandoah River Outfitters Sunday morning at their headquarters at 9.00 A.M. Untill next time folks this is your Captain speaking. Have a great weekend.


Earth Korps’ The Bear Truth!

Well, well have I got a story for you. I had decided to go and do a walk up through a shallow part of the river today, ( what part isn’t shallow) and just see what I could find caught on rocks and trees. I ddn’t have any available help for today so I fidgured I’d just go it alone. Now keep in mind that I know this is a bad idea because obviously I don’t usually carry my phone on me in the water and you just never really know what’s going to happen in the wilderness when you’re on your own. No matter how close to the beaten path you might stay. 
      So I’m walking along just minding my own business picking up what I see and really taking time to enjoy mother natures summer that’s  soon coming to an end when all of a sudden I hear powerful footsteps not far at all from where I’m stationed in the middle of the river. I pause, listen, and then the steps come closer to me. Instict tells me to make a loud noise because most wild animals want as little to do with a human as we do them, but I just stand there silent. Apparently something must have spooked the thing because it took off real quick up the next bank. To my surprise and absolute horror it was natures teddy the majestic black bear, not of monster proportion but definately big enough to ask yourself why you are 40 feet away from it in the middle of the river with a shovel and an orange trash bag. Also perhaps traveling with a sibling,parent, all these thoughts raced through my head as the bear made it’s way left. The one direction I didn’t want it to go. Between me and my truck, at a quarter mile walk away. So I did what any decent inexperienced bear wrangler would have done and bravely ran as fast as I could to my truck and retreated to another spot to clean for the day.
    On the note of cleaning I didn’t actually take any pictures today because frankly I like pictures of the big stuff and all I ended up making out with were two trash bags of cans, bottles, monofilament, and your standard rubble. Plus one extra item I don’t usually find. A wallet, but stripped of any identification or paper traces. They didn’t even leave me a tip. but this not alot of trash thing is a good thing because maybe just maybe we’er starting to make a dent and starting to make an impact on peoples decisions to leave that extra beer can behind. So keep on spreading the word people. We’re taking our river back.
Untill next time folks. This is your captain speaking. ( The call me the Bear Wrangler now)

-Captain, (Bear Wrangler)

Just went to check the water level.

          Alright, so I figured I’d go down to the river and check out the water level. Not really in any sort of measurement type of way, just looking to see how it’s doing. By the way I feel this would be a good time to mention that I don’t ever remember seeing the river this low in my neck of the woods. Maybe I’m wrong, but it’s looking pretty bad. So anyway I was just going to check things out and I happened to come across 2 tires, a bag full of beer bottles and such, and also about 3,000 ft. of monofilament. No I didn’t measure the fishing line to see exactly how long it was but as a reference it darn near filled the cooler on the back of my truck up. Although I was planning on taking today off to get some much needed paperwork done, I felt that I couldn’t hardly call my self an environmentalist without rooting through the surrounding poison ivy patch and retrieving said lost trash. Here are a few pictures I took of my treasures. I hope you enjoy.


Hello Folks FYI!

To all Virginia’s water lovers,

The Virginia Waterways Cleanup (part of the International Coastal Cleanup) is the perfect way to help our environment by donating a few hours of your time – please volunteer and help out at a cleanup event near you. A full list of events can be found on the web site:   This site, run by the Ocean Conservancy, shows cleanup events that are open to the public all over the world!  

Cleanup events will be held throughout September and October – mostly on Saturdays.
Here is a partial listing of September events:
Saturday, September 11
Douthat State Park (Bath County, VA)
Claytor Lake State Park (Pulaski County, VA)
Shenandoah River near Luray (Page County, VA)
Sunday, September 12
Gillies Creek Park in Richmond, VA
Lynnhaven River in VA Beach

Saturday, September 18
Ft. Monroe in Hampton, VA
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Chincoteague Island, VA
Deltaville in Middlesex County
James River State Park in Nelson & Buckingham Counties
False Cape State Park in VA Beach
Sunday, September 19
Shenandoah River State Park (Bentonville in Warren County, VA)
Cowpasture River in Bath County
Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park in Amelia County (near Farmville, VA)
Shenandoah River, South Fork (Page County)
Saturday, September 25
Daingerfield Island Park on the Potomac River (just north of Old Town Alexandria, VA)
Richmond, VA: 1.  Belle Isle in the James River Park
                        2. Osborne Landing in the James River Park
                        3. Ancarrows Landing in the James River Park
Arlington VA: Four Mile Run in Barcroft Park
Rivanna River in Albemarle & Fluvanna Counties
York River State Park in James City County
Swift Creek Lade in Chesterfield, VA
Belle Isle State Park in Lancaster County
Harrisonburg, VA (Rockingham/Augusta County)
Chicks’ Beach Landing in VA Beach
Jonesville in Lee County
Bristol, VA in Washington County
For details, including time and directions, see

About Last Year’s Virginia Waterways Cleanup
The 2009 Virginia Waterways Cleanup/ International Coastal Cleanup in Virginia had a 5,641 volunteers.  They picked up 169,517 pounds of litter, and collected very valuable data too! In all, 279 miles of shorelines and beaches were cleaned from Virginia’s mountains to the Chesapeake Bay beaches.
Part of Something Bigger
The annual Virginia Waterways Cleanup is part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, which is the world’s largest volunteer effort to collect data on litter and trash in the aquatic environment!  ICC events are held on the coasts, AND inland, since inland litter often ends up in our oceans.  Volunteers not only make our waterways safer and cleaner, but they also collect valuable data that are critical as we strive to reduce the amount of litter and debris in our water.

In the Boardroom and in the Classroom
More and more businesses are adopting the International Coastal Cleanup for their employee environmental/volunteer efforts, just as more and more schools are using lesson plans developed by CVW to make a local cleanup into a broader lesson about our impact on the ocean. See

Please help spread the word about this wonderful stewardship event by forwarding this email to your friends, family, and co-workers. If your county or town doesn’t have a cleanup event planned, please signup as a Site Captain, and be a leader in helping your local waterways! Call CVW at 434-395-2602 to learn more.
Clean Virginia Waterways (a program of Longwood University in Farmville, VA) is proud that this is our 16th year organizing this outstanding statewide volunteer event. To learn more about the Virginia Waterways Cleanup, CVW’s Rain Barrel Workshops, and other stewardship programs, please visit CVW’s web site:
To signup for a cleanup this fall, visit

Thank you so much for your interest and concern for the beautiful rivers of Virginia.

The staff and board of Clean Virginia Waterways
P.S. It is not too late to signup as a Site Captain — any school, business, church, youth groups or civic organization can sponsor and organize a local cleanup. Contact CVW for details. 

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