Volunteers needed to help clean the Clinton River

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published September 10, 2019

 Volunteers show off various items retrieved during a past Clinton River cleanup event.

Volunteers show off various items retrieved during a past Clinton River cleanup event.

Photo provided by the Clinton River Watershed Council


METRO DETROIT — The Clinton River Watershed Council is looking for volunteers of all ages to help clean the Clinton River this month.

The 18th annual Clinton Clean-Up will take place Saturday, Sept. 21, throughout the watershed, which covers 760 square miles in Macomb, Oakland, Lapeer and St. Clair counties.

CRWC Program Manager Kathleen Sexton said that this year, there are around 15 different cleanup events, some public and others private.

In the Rochester area, the public can volunteer for the city of Rochester’s cleanup event 9-11 a.m. Sept. 21 to clean up trash and debris along the Clinton River Trail and Riverwalk, near Diversion Street. Volunteers will meet in the Diversion Street parking lot in Rochester, and they will be provided with lunch and refreshments afterward.

In Rochester Hills, volunteers can join Red Lotus Yoga at Eagles Landing, on Livernois Road, to clean up the Clinton River and the Clinton River Trail 1-3 p.m. Sept. 21.

Last September, over 4,000 pounds of trash — including tires, shopping carts, cigarette butts, plastic bottles, cans and plastic bags — was removed from the Clinton River and its watershed during the event.

When trash ends up in the river, CRWC Program Coordinator Katie Yates said, it negatively affects the water quality, and it can harm marine life and wildlife.

“Trash is something that can immediately impact the ecosystem and the water, so if you can intercept it before that happens, you are making a difference,” Yates said.

Each year, Clinton Clean-Up volunteers enjoy trying to find the most unique item of trash in the river, according to Yates.

“During one of our trash runs on the river in canoes, a fake tree was found,” she said. “I have also seen a cash register, a refrigerator. We’ve pulled a couch out, tons of shopping carts and tires — all kinds of strange, weird and unnecessary items.”

Although Sexton said the Clinton River is cleaner than it has been in several decades, there is always more work to be done.

“We like to create a sense of stewardship and value,” she said. “By asking community members to participate in these cleanups, they are connecting to the waterways and developing a sense of appreciation for it.”

To volunteer for the city of Rochester’s cleanup, contact Jason Dickinson at jdickinson@rochestermi.org. To volunteer for the Red Lotus Yoga cleanup in Rochester Hills, email brian@redlotusyoga.com.

Those who can’t make it to a cleanup event Sept. 21 can volunteer during one of the council’s weekly cleanup events, held 10 a.m.-noon Wednesdays at various locations throughout the watershed.

For more information about the Clinton Clean-Up, visit www.crwc.org/events-2/clinton-clean-up or call Kathleen Sexton at (248) 601-0606.