Saturday, June 25, 2016

River Cleanup with Central Jersey Stream Team

We worked in the South Branch Raritan River through the South Branch/Branchburg area not very far upstream of the confluence with the North Branch, removing more than a hundred tires and some assorted junk. Central Jersey Stream Team formed in 2013, after a family canoe trip down the South Branch.

"We saw more tires than wildlife," Steve told me. He is an Eagle Scout, so experienced in organizing projects. In three years time, more than 3000 tires have been pulled from the river, and about five tons of metal. Over lunch, some of us discussed the possibility of the removal of so much rust changing the river's pH a little for the better.

Anyone can volunteer. Central Jersey Stream Team's website has a sign-on function. I know I want to do this again, whether or not I have time this summer or next. An excellent group of regulars has a lot more fun than any drudgery.

Whatever the purpose, I like being on a river or wading a river or walking the edge and bank. I'm not limited to fishing, but I especially like practical involvement in some form or other, so long as I take my moments of wide-open appreciation for the surroundings. That's not limited to sight, which involves my camera in turn, since I pay attention to birdsong. And what people have to say.

Next time, I hope to find more tires. At least today, one I sighted in the immediate vicinity of the big tractor tire discovery apparently had some valuable significance for removal, whether or not the others would have found it anyway. We loaded the canoe I steadied, careful that it did not tip with all my expensive camera equipment in the bag on board! Ultimately, we hope to find fewer and fewer, but we're aware that with flood erosion, tires now buried under mud will at least partially emerge. There's work to be done yet. Steve told me they've found plenty dating from the 1950's, whitewalls from a long gone era deposited for us to take and leave a river cleaner than a century ago for the future.

 Andy Still prepares to place a tire in the canoe I used.

 Working a big one.

Treading for tires.


  1. So satisfying to clean it up. I have done my share picking up litter.

    1. Age 10, I founded the Lawrence Ecology Club. We cleaned up the 50-acre woods beside our neighborhood, & raised money to support the John's Hopkins trumpeter swan project.

  2. Wow! Not sure just how to visualize this! Easy way is to ask with or without adult help?

    1. Well, that depends on what you mean. It was my idea, my doing, then our doing, neighborhood kids, but I had spent years closely observing my father, who cofounded the American Organ Association, believe that's the name you can look up online, now with about a thousand members, among his many other connections, phone ringing off the hook nightly, frequent visitors over for chats. He's still a dynamo at age 80. The Dean of American choral music, also a recital organist. So, no help explicitly, except my mother suggested John's Hopkins, even though I read National Wildlife & etc. constantly.

    2. James Howard Litton. Someone or other--no idea--gave him a Wikipedia page. Just no money, lol.


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