Volunteers Needed for Denville’s Rockaway River Cleanup May 8
DENVILLE, NJ— After a year hiatus due to the pandemic, volunteers are needed more
than ever for the ninth annual Denville Rockaway River Cleanup. The annual Cleanup will
be held Saturday, May 8, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The Township of Denville and
Saint Clare’s Health are again partnering in support of this event.
What started as a volunteer effort to clean up the Rockaway River from the debris and
litter left from Hurricanes Irene and Sandy, has blossomed into an annual event, with a
brigade of volunteers armed with gloves, trash bags and waders to collect and remove
large quantities of debris and litter from the Rockaway River and its streams during the
However, the event was postponed for 2020 as a result of the pandemic. After much
consideration, planners have opted to resume the event this Spring based on several
factors—vaccinations, the event being outside and the enforcement of following the CDC
guidelines of social distancing and wearing face masks.
Volunteers are needed to help remove litter and wood debris along the 3.5 mile stretch of
the Rockaway River through Denville. Volunteers, civic groups and organizations are
again being asked to help in this cleanup effort.
Removal of litter and debris from the Rockaway River is a crucial effort in flood
prevention. No experience is needed. Donate two hours to all day to this effort.
Volunteers under the age of 18 are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult.
Registration, check-in, and site assignments for the cleanup begins at 9:00 a.m. at the
lower parking lot near the emergency room entrance at Saint Clare’s hospital on 25
Pocono Road in Denville. Following CDC guidelines, volunteers must socially distance and
wear a face covering.
Participants are asked to wear long sleeves and pants, sturdy boots or waders. The use of
sunscreen and insect repellent are strongly encouraged. If available, please bring work
gloves, branch lopper and/or bow saw.
George Strother, Chairman of the Denville River and Streams Committee, is spearheading
the effort to identify strategic points along the river where trees, debris, and trash pose
the greatest risk for flooding issues. Based on this information, he is working with
volunteer groups and the Township of Denville DPW to continue the on going effort “to
keep the river flowing.”
This volunteer effort began 10 years ago when Mayor Tom Andes created the River and
Streams Advisory Committee. Strother was appointed to the Mayor’s committee to
spearhead a volunteer effort as a means to help alleviate flooding along the 3.5 miles of
river and streams that flow through Denville following the devastating flooding in 2011
from Hurricane Irene. Co-sponsored by the Township of Denville and Saint Clare’s Health,
the volunteer cleanup effort began the monumental task of removing debris and litter left
throughout the river and its banks from the flooding as well removal of woody debris
from the extensive tree damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
The river cleanup is helping to prevent unsightly pollution, contributes to the healthiness
of humans, wild life and fish, prevents flooding, and promotes recreational uses of the
river including rafting, kayaking, canoeing and fishing.
And how do you judge a successful river cleanup? “At the end of day, participants are
dirty, tired, sweaty and smiling standing next to piles of tires, trash and woody debris”
The sheer volume of debris, litter and trash removed by the volunteers over the years
demonstrates the measure of the event’s success. Over 800, 55-gallon bags of litter and
trash, 1,800 cubic yards of woody debris, 570 tires and numerous large plastic and metal
items such at hot water heaters, appliances and auto parts ranging from fenders to
engines not to mention television sets, iron pipes, fencing, discarded construction debris
and even ironically a “DO NOT DUMP” sign has been collected.
For more information or to register online please visit the Township’s municipal website
at www. Denvillenj.org and click on the calendar link for May 8 on the home page. You
may also visit www.facebook.com/TownshipOfDenville to link to the event registration
and for up-to-date postings.
Rain Date for the event is Saturday, May 15, 2021.