DIY Cleanups . . . trending now!

HRWC’s goal is to have river cleanups in every location where they are needed, as often as needed. A lofty goal, perhaps, but HRWC has never been shy on vision. Despite not owning any land and having only one kayak on hand, HRWC is flush with waders and grateful for a wealth of volunteers, donors, and partner organizations who are passionate about the health of the Huron River and willing to pitch in.

Huron River Cleanups
Do your part to protect the Huron River. Head out and spend an afternoon on the river – trash bag in hand! credit: City of Ann Arbor

Litter attracts more litter

When HRWC works with students, they are asked to consider “if a place looks like a dump and is full of trash, do you think people are going to litter there or not?” It is inherently true that litter attracts more litter, as it indicates that no one cares about that corridor. Yet, it is also true that if a place looks nice and clean, people are more likely to dispose of trash properly. Understanding the impacts of cleaning up trash in the river makes this work doubly important. Luckily, trash cleanup can be done by nearly anyone, nearly anywhere.

River heroes donate time and resources

HRWC fosters river cleanups by supporting anyone who is willing to conduct or attend a cleanup. All of the canoe liveries along the Huron provide thousands of free or discounted boats each season, including: The City of Ann Arbor, H2E River Adventures, Heavner Canoe & Kayak Rental, Motor City Canoe Rental, Skip’s Huron River Canoe Livery, and Village Canoe Rental. HRWC works with these outfitters by obtaining grant funds to offset costs or match a portion of their donated services. HRWC actively recruits volunteers and some groups have been conducting river cleanups for decades, including the City of Ann Arbor, Huron Clinton Metroparks, and the Friends of the Huron – Oakland. The last of these has held regular cleanups for 34 years­—started by a resident of Milford, and now coordinated by her children.

In recent years, the Metroparks and Skip’s have both expanded river cleanups, covering more river miles and hosting more events. Schultz Outfitters conducts reconnaissance early each season, organizes cleanups in challenging locations, and more recently held weekly cleanups along the river in Ypsilanti.

There are thousands of volunteers staffing these cleanups. Some run their own personal cleanups, while many join formal cleanup events. Many groups volunteer as a team-building exercise. There are so many groups that ask to join cleanups that most of the liveries take volunteers on a first-come, first-served basis and maintain a waiting list.

You can do your own river cleanup!

Head out and spend an afternoon on the river – trash bag in hand.

-Conduct a river cleanup on your own with our  DIY How To River Cleanup Information. You can work from the water or on the shore.

-Pick up litter in your favorite park or along roadsides to keep trash out of the stormdrains—and thus out of the river. Or consider regularly taking care of your curbside connection to a local waterway by Adopting A Stormdrain.

-If you are paddling or fishing the river and find an area that’s particularly trashy, please let us know. Send a photo, brief description, and geolocation.

Be sure to broadcast your efforts to clean up the Huron River by tagging us on social media with #HuronRiver, #TrashTag, and #HuronRiverDIY.

HRWC is grateful for the financial support for river cleanups provided by TOYOTA.