More than 220 volunteers remove four tons of trash, debris during 2024 River Sweep

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River Sweep volunteer George Johnson, on the west side of Garrett Island under the CSX railroad bridge, helps to collect trash and debris at the shoreline cleanup on April 20. (Photo by Bryon Bodt)

More than 220 volunteers gathered in 11 locations in Cecil and Harford counties and removed four tons of trash and debris during Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway’s 24th annual River Sweep on April 20. Here are the details provided by the non-profit:

More than 220 Volunteers Remove Four Tons of Trash, Debris During 2024 River Sweep

Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway’s annual shoreline cleanup took place April 20 in Cecil and Harford counties

Darlington, Md., April 23, 2024 – More than 220 volunteers gathered in 11 locations in Cecil and Harford counties and removed four tons of trash and debris during Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway’s 24th annual River Sweep on April 20. 

Everest Flanagan, a River Sweep volunteer at Perryville Community Park, removes a tire found during the shoreline cleanup April 20. (Photo by Vesta Flanagan)
 

This yearly volunteer shoreline cleanup was held in celebration of Earth Day in Havre de Grace, Conowingo, Perryville, Port Deposit, Charlestown and on Garrett Island. Since its founding in 2000, River Sweep volunteers have collected more than 131 tons of trash and debris from area shorelines and roadways.

Notable items found and removed during River Sweep include numerous tires, a car wheel, kitchen faucet, plastic Chevy bed liner, pieces of a floating dock, flags, large chunks of Styrofoam, fishing lines and plastic and glass bottles.

Among the participating groups removing trash and debris werethose from Amazon, Amtrak, Baltimore Walking Club, Bainbridge Elementary, Charlestown Green Team, Conowingo Elementary Green Team, Constellation, Cool Springs HOA, Cub Scout Pack 313, Girl Scout Troop 967, Girl Scout Troop 1258, Glitter Dragons, HdG Cat (Citizens Against Trash) Club, Hollywood Casino, Perryville Green Team and Perryville Police Department Outreach Program. Many individuals not affiliated with one of the groups also participated in River Sweep.

Also among the River Sweep volunteers were Harford County Director of Administration Rob McCord representing Harford County Executive Bob Cassilly; Harford County Deputy Director of Parks and Recreation Terry Hanley; Havre de Grace City Council Members Johnny Boker and Casi Boyer; Perryville Commissioners Michelle Linkey and Bob Taylor; Perryville Town Manager George Patchell; and Port Deposit Retired Mayor and Councilman Bob Kuhs.

In addition to removing trash and debris, River Sweep volunteers at Susquehanna State Park pulled the invasive garlic mustard plant which spreads quickly and prohibits native plants from growing. 

“We are so very grateful to the community for their support of River Sweep over the past 24 years. It’s heartening to welcome volunteers who join us every year and also those who are participating for the first time,” said Brigitte Carty, executive director of Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway. “The dedication of our longtime coordinators, partners and sponsors make River Sweep a rewarding experience for participants and, most importantly, helps to make our environment cleaner and healthier for everyone. We are looking forward to celebrating River Sweep’s 25th anniversary in 2025.”

Sponsors of River Sweep 2024 include Constellation, Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Environmental Trust, Maryland Department of Agriculture, Chesapeake Bay Trust and Maryland Heritage Areas Authority. Community partners include Cecil County, Charlestown, Harford County, Havre de Grace, Perryville, Port Deposit and Susquehanna State Park.

In addition, partial financial assistance has been provided for this project through the Cecil County VLT Local Community Grant Program, sponsored by the Cecil County Executive. This project also has been financed in part with state funds from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.

The 25th River Sweep will be held Saturday, April 26, 2025.

Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway is a nonprofit, certified Maryland Heritage Area located in Harford and Cecil counties along the Lower Susquehanna River and Upper Bay. Its mission is to encourage regional economic development through heritage tourism primarily by supporting public recreation efforts, particularly trail development and public water access, historic preservation, cultural interpretation and conservation efforts. For more information about Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway, visit www.UpperBayTrails.com.