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 event.
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” Strother said.
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.