2021: The Year of Plastic Pollution Awareness in Prince William County

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Provided by Prince William Soil & Water Conservation District

2020 was a challenging year. However, the District’s Water Quality Programs volunteers did not relent in their efforts in promoting water quality awareness around Prince William County waterways.
This commitment and passion of the Conservation District’s volunteers in promoting the County’s Green Community Goals goes a long way. Their engagement in waterways cleanup (Adopt-A-Stream/pond), biological and chemical monitoring shows a need to conserve and protect our environment and its natural resources.
This engagement also emphasizes a change in the human behaviors that pollute Prince William County’s streams and waterbodies.
The issue of plastic materials in waterways, especially single used plastic bottles and plastic bags, is of great concern. These plastic materials degrade into microplastics, which is a big threat to aquatic lives and human health. In general, plastic bottles, plastic bags and plastic wrappers are the most dominant materials in our local waterways. These items find their way into the Potomac River and then the Chesapeake Bay. Plastics and microplastics remain a challenging issue in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

What is your pledge for the environment in 2021?

  •  To reduce the use of plastic water bottles?
  • To reduce the use of plastic grocery bags?
  • Or to volunteer under the District’s Water Quality Programs and promote water quality awareness for the present and future generation?
Together, we can all make a difference!  Email waterquality@pwswcd.org for more information.

2020 Volunteers

Adopt-A-Stream/ Adopt-A-Pond Volunteers

Spring 2020 Volunteers
  • Lake Ridge Deer Management and Conservation – Occoquan Watershed
  • Prince William Trails and Stream Coalition (PWTSC)- Occoquan River and Neabsco Creek
  • Princedale Ridgedale Community Pride- Neabsco Creek
  • Prince William Conservation Alliance – Cedar Run
  • Saars Family – Bull Run
  • The Shoemaker Family – Bull Run
  • Woodbridge Potomac Civic Communities Associations (WPCCA) – Neabsco Creek
Summer 2020 Volunteers
  • Belmont Bay Paddlers – Belmont Bay
  • Leopold’s Preserve – Broad Run
  • Girl Scout Troop – Lake Ridge Occoquan
  • Manassas 1st Ward- Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints – Russia Branch
  • River of Grace Lutheran Church Manassas – Neabsco Creek
  • Serviclean Inc. – Neabsco Creek
  • Sea Troop 100 – Rocky Branch
  • Patriot Scuba – Occoquan River
  • Prince William Trails and Streams Coalition (PWTSC) – Occoquan River
Fall and Winter 2020
  • Advocate for Cleanup and Clear Waterways – Neabsco Creek
  • Friends of Occoquan – FOTO – Occoquan River
  • Merrimac Master Naturalists – Bull Run
  • Princedale Ridgedale Community Pride – Neabsco Creek
  • Prince William Conservation Alliance_ – Cedar Run
  • The Ross Family – Neabsco Creek
  • Troop 1833 – Little Bull Run Catharpin
  • Water Health Educators / George Mason Sustainability and Advocacy Students – Occoquan River
Special thanks to all the individuals, groups and families that came out for the 2020 Occoquan River cleanup events!

Biological and Chemical Monitoring Volunteers, your data and input go a long way!

  • Airport Creek Team
  • Broad Run Team
  • Bull Run Team
  • Catharpin Creek Team
  • Cedar Run Team
  • Dewey’s Creek Team
  • Flat Branch Team
  • Powell’s Creek Team
  • Quantico Creek Team
  • Young’s Branch Team
  • City of Manassas Team
  • Town of Dumfries Team

2021 Water Quality Programs Data and Milestone

Adopt-A-Stream/Pond Program

In 2019, over 1,616 volunteers collected close to 35,950 pounds of debris from Prince William County’s waterways. This registered an input of over 4,187 hours of volunteers’ time thereby saving close to $106,475 of taxpayers money (independentsector.org).
In 2020, in spite of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic challenges, 586 volunteers collected close to 17,440 pounds of debris from Prince William County waterways. This recorded an input of 1,869 hours of volunteers’ time, saving Prince William County close to $51,771 of taxpayers’ money.
In 2020, the Conservation District registered close to 51.75 miles of cleaned up waterways.compared to 76.5 miles in 2019.

Newly Adopted Sites/Environmental Stewardship Commitment

Over 25 new water quality awareness signs were installed across Prince William County.
Special thanks to all the volunteers and groups that promote water quality awareness in the community!

Water Quality Monitoring Program

In 2020, the District added chemical monitoring to its existing biological monitoring program. This brought in the City of Manassas and the Town of Dumfries to partner and support water quality data in Prince William County.
This upgrade in chemical monitoring added 91 new monitoring sites. There was increase in the number of water quality monitoring sites from 19 biological sites to 110 citizen science monitoring sites in Prince William County.
All these programs also promote more water quality education among residents and students. This data goes to the Virginia Save Our Streams (VASOS) and the Chesapeake Monitoring Cooperative databases (CMC) under supervision of the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Upcoming Event

Saturday, Feb. 6, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Stop Mowing, Start Growing! Third Annual Native Plant Symposium for Beginners
A virtual conference on Zoom: Create a beautiful yard, save time and money, improve water quality, build habitat for pollinators and birds, etc.
Keynote Speaker: Alonso Abugattas, “The Capital Naturalist” on social media and the Natural Resources Manager for Arlington County.
For more information and to register, visit nps2021.eventbrite.com. Registration Fee: $5.00 Call 703-792-7070 for more details.

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