Watershed leaders seeking volunteers

Organizer Ronda Lehman says even ‘an hour’ of cleanup helps

HARPERS FERRY – The Blue Ridge Watershed Coalition is looking for volunteers to help with their Blue Ridge Community Cleanup on Saturday.

The event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon at three locations: the Harpers Ferry campsites, Westridge Hills and Shannondale Springs. There will be signs along the roads leading people to the meeting spots.

Ronda Lehman, chairwoman of the BRWC, asks “everybody who has an hour even to come out and give us a hand, whichever community is closest to them.” Volunteers will clean up trash that has accumulated in illegal dumpsites.

“It’s obviously a water quality issue,” Lehman said. “And it also helps with outreach into these communities, so they know who we are.”

The BRWC organized this event in response to the high number of calls they’ve been receiving about the litter along roads and streams. Lehman said that volunteers can expect to find any kind of trash out there – diapers, deer carcasses, car parts, televisions and more. They should wear old clothes and shoes and long pants to protect from ticks and other hazards.

Lehman added that keeping the rivers clean is in our best interest as well as the environment’s.

“We’re all downstream from somewhere,” she said. “We want to take care of our portion of the stream.”

The Shenandoah and Potomac rivers provide drinking water for many areas, including Charles Town, Tuscawilla Hills, Locust Hill, Loudoun and Fairfax counties in Virginia and even Washington, D.C., Lehman notes. Clearing out the trash won’t solve all the water problems in the area, but it will certainly help, she said.

There is one more goal Lehman hopes to accomplish by organizing these community cleanups.

“When you go out and you clean these areas, it lets those people know that are doing the dumping that we’re watching them,” she said. “We’re going to start coming after them for this sort of behavior. Because it is illegal to litter and dump in our state.”

For more information about this event or to suggest a location to be considered for cleanup in the future, call Lehman at 304-261-8070. For more information about the BRWC, visit brwc.org or find the organization on Facebook.

“We’re hoping to see a lot of our neighbors come out to help us with this effort, because it is a huge effort,” Lehman said. “Everybody complains about the litter that they see along the roads and all the trash. So let’s hope we can get those people out to help us pick it all up.”


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