Monday, June 11, 2007


Top: The Pennsy crew works on a City of Easton containment boom, 2/3 which was removed and placed on the canal bank. It took bolt cutters, a hack saw and pole saws to free it. (Pic taken by Sandy Greger)

Below: NJ Youth Corps members pose in front of the growing trash pile. (pic taken by Wally Jenness)

Way back in the beginning of my 'river-and-watershed' career I tended to dismiss stream cleanups in the mistaken belief that there are so many other pressing problems needing attention. That all changed when I began working on French Creek in Southeastern PA, and I became a full convert of this hands-on activity when I came to work on the Musconetcong River and Delaware River.

Now I know the truth: There is no other more vital and more effective way to protect and improve our streams, rivers and watersheds than removing unsightly and ecologically malignant objects that have no place on the land or water. Things like plastic tarps, shopping bags, toilet seats, half-full cans of gasoline, styrofoam mattresses, baby strollers, tires, beverage cans and glass bottles, corrugated metal roofs, and even more plastic-plastic-plastic bottles. Each of you worked hard and got your hands dirty making a cleaner, healthier river!

It is in that spirit that I thank each and every individual and organization who came out for this past Saturday to improve the river. Your outstandingly remarkable efforts made the '07 Operation RiverBright one of the most rewarding and successful river cleanups I have ever witnessed.

A few of you were not representing any organization; we are glad we found you through the local newspapers!

The key organizations that came together to made this happen were:

Sponsoring Organizations
Delaware River Greenway Partnership (they began Operation RiverBright as Project River Bright about 10 years ago), Lower Delaware Wild and Scenic River Management Committee, National Park Service, American Rivers, and American Canoe Association;

Participating Organizations
Delaware Canal State Park (PA DCNR) (they provided trash disposal services and excellent facilities for our use), New Jersey Youth Corps of Phillipsburg, American Canoe Association, National Canoe Safety Patrol - Lower Delaware Chapter, Mohawk Canoe Club, Hunterdon County Canoe Club, and the Outdoor Club of South Jersey. Lazy River Adventures of Phillipsburg contributed canoes for the Youth Corps volunteers, and ShopRite of Flemington generously donated supplies including trash bags, gloves, water and snacks.

A very special thanks to: George and Leona Fluck of the National Canoe Safety Patrol (and all your participating members), paddling buddy Eric Sween (Bethlehem Twp. NJ Environmental Commission) for extraordinary ground support and trailer/shuttle services, and Mike Muckle of the NJ Youth Corps and all his dedicated young people. Check the NCSP website for photos of the cleanup and the training day with the Youth Corps:

I sincerely hope we can work together again soon. There is so much more to do!

PS: A Safety Patrol member left behind a Teal Color mesh bag at the Phillipsburg access. It had a couple of throw bags, PFD, spray skirt and a bunch of yellow rubber duckies (used for military water survival class). If found contact Stu Gillard (NCSP) 609-577-0093 or