(July 20, 2022) Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, with funding from the Department of Environmental Protection’s Coastal Resources Management, is announcing their new Waterway Steward Program, developed with funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The program’s purpose is to engage Pennsylvania water trail users in community science and build long term stewardship of our water trails while providing valuable data to tell the story about litter in and along our waterways.
“Being a waterway steward is easy. Any time you are recreating in or near water, collect litter and stream health data. When you’re finished, dispose of the litter properly and report your data to us. You choose where you want to clean. It can be a different waterway each time,” said Shannon Reiter, President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful received a $40,000 Coastal Zone Grant from the DEP Coastal Resources Management Program to establish the Waterway Steward Program and facilitate cleanups in the Delaware Estuary.
“DEP is pleased to support this innovative program to turn residents who use Pennsylvania’s streams, rivers, and lakes into stewards of these waters, helping to document and reduce the trash pollution that threatens water quality for people and aquatic life,” said DEP Acting Secretary Ramez Ziadeh, P.E.
DEP and other state agencies are working with Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful to foster littering prevention and litter reduction initiatives through a statewide Litter Action Plan.
The Waterway Steward program is ideal for water trail users, anglers, outdoor and waterway enthusiasts and all those who care about the health, safety and quality of Pennsylvania’s waterways. To be a Waterway Steward, individuals must be at least 18 years of age. Stewards can conduct cleanups individually or organize their family and friends to join a cleanup.
“The impact you can have as a Waterway Steward are many. Keeping our waterways free from litter and debris helps preserve the beauty of Pennsylvania’s waterways, improves water quality, enhances the health and safety of our environment, people, animals, birds and fish and protects the natural resources that we depend on for recreation and tourism,” said Reiter.
Participants are encouraged to share stories online. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful will compile and share results to the larger community and use this data to further educate Pennsylvanians about the importance of keeping our waterways clean.
Program sponsors and partners include: DEP Coastal Resources Management Program, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, Pennsylvania Environmental Council and Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers.
About Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful
Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s vision is a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania. Since 1990, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful has worked with hundreds of thousands of volunteers across the state to pick up nearly 152 million pounds of trash from Pennsylvania’s roadways, waterways, greenways, vacant lots, forestlands and other community spaces. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful’s core programming focuses on litter and illegal dump prevention, cleanup, community greening, and proper waste handling and sustainable practices. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful works with many partnering organizations on the state and grassroots level to accomplish our goal of a clean and beautiful Pennsylvania. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful is the state affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, Inc., the nation’s largest volunteer-based community action and education organization. To learn more about Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful, visit www.keeppabeautiful.org.