It's up to each of us to keep Virginia's rivers, streams, lakes and bays clean. That's the idea behind DCR's Adopt-a-Stream Program (AAS). The waterway cleanups supported by this anti-litter campaign provide a chance for local businesses, civic groups, watershed associations, churches, schools, environmental concerns and scouts to work together or separately to do their part.
The statewide program aims to reduce litter while advancing citizen stewardship and understanding of the commonwealth's precious waterways. Adopt-a-Stream promotes education, public outreach, citizen involvement, partnership and community capacity-building through Virginia's diverse constituencies.
You need to get your hands a little dirty to truly learn about nature. Waterway cleanups provide that prospect. A few hours collecting litter from a local shoreline establishes a link between citizens, community waterways and their watersheds. You see firsthand how your cleanup work improves a waterway's quality and appearance. You feel good about your work, become a caretaker of a local waterway and assume a watershed-based stewardship ethic.
By signing up for DCR's voluntary, do-it-yourself Adopt-a-Stream program, your group agrees to at least one, preferably two, cleanups per year for at least two years. The minimum length of shoreline a group can adopt is one-quarter mile. A team of two typically covers a mile of lightly littered shoreline in an hour or two. Many groups opt for two cleanups a year, one in the spring and another in the fall. DCR helps by providing trash bags, gloves, safety vests, and instructional and promotional documents. DCR also gives each group custom signage featuring the adopted waterway and organization.
At the cleanup, have all participants sign the liability release and fill in the sign-up sheet. And make sure your volunteers are familiar with the safety guidelines (PDF). Once completed, the forms must be sent to DCR within a week of the cleanup's completion.
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
Attn: Adopt-a-Stream Coordinator
600 E. Main St., 24th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219
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