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.
Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
Attn: Adopt-a-Stream Coordinator
600 E. Main St., 24th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219
Click here to view a presentation that describes the Adopt-a-Stream Program .
You might also be interested in water quality monitoring. Follow this link to the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality's monitoring information or click here to visit a site about the Izaak Walton League's Save Our Streams program.
Please let me know if your group is no longer active. There are a couple of options for what you can do with your signs.
Because getting reports is so important, the Adopt-a-Stream coordinator will send the Adopt-a-Stream newsletter out quarterly to remind you to submit your data. A picture is worth a thousand words. If you submit your pictures, you might see them in the newsletter. If you have any short stories about Adopt-a-Stream that you would like to share, please submit them too.
If you are interested in other stewardship activities and environmental education in Virginia, then you may be interested in the Virginia Naturally newsletter. The Virginia Naturally newsletter goes out approximately every other month. Click here if you would like to be added to the Virginia Naturally newsletter database and fill out the short survey. If you would like to know more about Virginia Naturally, visit the homepage.