Wetland Cleanup Organizers Looking for Volunteers

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Provided by Prince William County

It is time for the annual Neabsco Watershed Spring Cleanup, and organizers are looking for volunteers to help, starting at 9:00 a.m. March 5.

In 2020, 247 adults and children came out to help clean up the watershed that empties into the Potomac River and collected enough trash to fill 260 large trash bags and 82 tires for a total of 3,840 pounds of trash. The number of volunteers went down in 2021 to 85 people due to the pandemic. Still, those volunteers collected 170 bags of trash and 21 tires for a total of 3,600 pounds of trash.

Event hosts Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District and the Woodbridge Potomac Communities Civic Association are hoping to get at least 400 volunteers this year to clean up the wetlands surrounding the Neabsco Creek Boardwalk and Neabsco Eagles Park.

“With things opening up, I believe a lot of folks will want to come out,” said Veronica Tangiri, the water quality programs coordinator and manager for the soil and water conservation district. “It’s outdoors and we’ll have social distancing.”

Organizers hold the event in March because the vegetation is minimal, and trash is easier to spot and remove.

Plastic bottles that float into the watershed in stormwater runoff are the most prevalent items that volunteers gather on the cleanup days. “You can just sit in one spot and collect bags and bags of plastic bottles. You don’t have to go walking around bushwhacking. You can stay in one spot and just mine bottles and put them in your bags,” Tangiri said.

Removing the trash makes things look better at the parks, Tangiri said. “Neabsco Creek is one of the wetlands in Prince William County that connects to the Potomac River. The Neabsco watershed also has a boardwalk and trash is always an eyesore when you go out to enjoy that beautiful scenic view. This cleanup is not only to beautify a beautiful park in Prince William County but also to create awareness around trash, especially plastic which is something that is dominant in this particular location.”

People should come prepared with footwear and clothes that can get wet and dirty. Organizers will provide equipment and supplies. The work should conclude by 12:00 noon, Tangiri said.

Register here to volunteer at the Neabsco Creek Boardwalk at 15125 Blackburn Road or Eagles Park at 15801 Neabsco Road, both in Woodbridge.

Visit pwtsc.org for more information.

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