STEUBENVILLE - The annual River Sweep cleanup along the banks of the Ohio River and its tributaries is a good family project, said Louise Holliday, Keep Jefferson County Beautiful education coordinator.
The sites for this year's event on June 21 are the Steubenville Marina and Yellow Creek. Volunteers will receive a free T-shirt and refreshments after the cleanup.
Registration begins at 9 a.m. at the marina and the park in Hammondsville. The cleanup will begin at 9:30 a.m. There is no rain date.
RIVER?SWEEP — The 21st-annual River Sweep along the banks of the Ohio River is scheduled for June 21 at two locations in Jefferson County. Participants will receive a free River Sweep T-shirt and refreshments provided by several businesses. Helping with the event are, from left, Ryan Vitek of FirstEnergy’s W.H. Sammis Plant; Giles Reeves of the Yellow Creek Watershed Restoration Coalition; Nick Latousakis of Choice Brands; Wendee Zadanski of the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District; Nora Hoit of Wal-Mart; and Louise Holliday of Keep Jefferson County Beautiful. - Mark Law
"It is a good environmental tool for children, students and parents to see how much waste gets dumped along our waterways," Holliday said.
Businesses helping locally with the River Sweep include ArcelorMittal, FirstEnergy, Wal-Mart and Riesbeck's.
The Yellow Creek Watershed Restoration Coalition and the Jefferson County Soil and Water Conservation District will be coordinating the cleanup along Yellow Creek.
Last year, nearly 70 volunteers in Jefferson County collected 100 bags of litter and debris. Holliday said the debris included household items, rope, Styrofoam and wire, Holliday said.
The River Sweep in Brooke County is coordinated by Ernie Jack of Wellsburg, who said volunteers should gather at the Wellsburg Wharf near Sixth and Main streets at 9 a.m. that day.
Plans call for litter and debris to be collected at the wharf, the 12th Street boat ramp and 18th Street and 4th Ward parks, but Jack said suggestions of additional sites are welcome.
He said about 60 volunteers collected an estimated 3 tons of trash last year.
River Sweep is sponsored by the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission along the shoreline of the Ohio River from Pennsylvania to Illinois. River Sweep encompasses the Ohio, Allegheny, Monongahela, Beaver, Kanawha, Tennessee and Kentucky rivers and other tributaries.
Throughout the years this nationally recognized event has grown into one of the largest cleanup efforts of its kind, encompassing 3,000 miles of shoreline from Pittsburgh to Cairo, Ill., according to ORSANCO.
Each year, more than 21,000 volunteers from public organizations, civic groups, recreational clubs, and the general public in six states bordering the river come together to collect more than 20,000 tons of debris and litter.
Improved water quality has increased recreational use of the Ohio River and its tributaries, ORSANCO reported. The increase in recreation produces more litter on the riverbanks, making a yearly cleanup vital, according to ORSANCO.
River Sweep also increases public awareness of water quality and promotes stewardship of the Ohio River and its tributaries.
"River Sweep is very important because for a few hours on one day volunteers can help make a difference in the appearance of this great natural resource," said Jeanne Ison, ORSANCO project director in all six states. "River Sweep has grown so much in the past few years, we've been able to expand the project to tributaries and feeder streams of the Ohio River."