Volunteers Clean Up Kent County Shorelines

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The Chester River Association organized a day of shoreline cleanups and trash trawls on the Chester River for the Chesapeake Conservation Corps at Eastern Neck Island Wildlife Refuge. The Corps is a group of volunteers that are placed with environmental organizations for year-long internships funded by the Chesapeake Bay Trust. A group of 30 volunteers from the Corps, the Chesapeake Bay Trust, the Chester River Association, and the Center for Environment & Society at Washington College picked up trash from two shoreline sites at the refuge and conducted trash trawls aboard the research vessel Callinectes on Friday, July 29.

A group prepares to launch the trash trawl equipment from the Callinectes.

A group prepares to launch the trash trawl equipment from the Callinectes.

This day of volunteer effort and citizen science was just one in a series of trash cleanup events organized by CRA and the Sassafras River Association. In March, CRA and SRA proposed a partnership with Kent County Public Works to organize volunteers and clean up shorelines around Kent County to improve water quality and health of shoreline ecosystems for residents and visitors alike.

In order to understand the life cycle of plastic in the environment, CRA brought in Julie Lawson, Executive Director of Trash Free Maryland, to lead the trash trawls and discuss recent efforts to ban plastic bags state-wide and engage new audiences on the subject of trash and how it affects communities. The group used NOAA equipment and techniques to sample for microplastics in the Chester River.

There were two shoreline cleanup events through the CRA and SRA partnership prior to the event at Eastern Neck. The first was a cleanup in Wilmer Park with Washington College Students in March, and the second was an event with the Young Professionals of Kent County at Turners Creek in May. These cleanups have engaged over 45 volunteers and removed almost 20 bags of trash and debris from shorelines throughout the county.

The two Riverkeeper groups will continue to organize cleanups on the Chester and Sassafras Rivers. If you have a group that is interested in participating, please contact Emily Harris at eharris@chesterriverassociation.org.

The Chester River Association is a non-profit organization whose mission is to protect and restore the health of the Chester River for our communities and for future generations.

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