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Riverkeeper Sweep 2017: Results are in!


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Updated: May 25, 2017

Results are in from the leaders of 102 shoreline cleanups and planting projects that made up Riverkeeper Sweep 2017, our 6th Annual day of service for the Hudson on Saturday, May 6. Thanks to 1,765 volunteers who turned out – everywhere from New York Harbor to the Adirondacks – more than 25 tons of trash, plastic, junked appliances, scrap metal, tires and other debris was hauled away from the river.

As in previous years, our most commonly found items were Styrofoam and plastic bottles. Some uncommon finds: two toilets, a giant teddy bear, a 1950s television set, and the remains of a car. And some wonderful nature sightings, reminding us why we do this: loons, spotted in NYC and Cold Spring. Our shorelines are visibly cleaner, and our river is healthier for it.

Click through the photo album below and read on for statistics and commentary from Sweep project leaders. THANK YOU ALL!

Riverkeeper Sweep 2017

Project locations: 102

Volunteers: 1,790

Bags of trash removed: 1,304

Total pounds of trash removed: 38,363

Bags of recycling collected: 300

Pounds of recycling collected: 4,584.5

Number of tires: 117

Weight of tires: 2,655 pounds

Total debris collected (includes trash, recyclables, tires, scrap metal, large pieces of Styrofoam and other debris): 51,301.5 pounds (25.5 tons)

Trees and bushes planted or maintained: 568

Haven Colgate, Hastings

“It was our 6th year doing a cleanup in Hastings, and we had our biggest turnout to date. Scouring the waterfront for trash is like a treasure hunt, and everyone from toddler to octogenarian had a fantastic day. We felt proud to be removing some big, imposing pieces of debris, but perturbed by the plastic slurry of small particles that mingle ubiquitously with the sand grains.”

Neil Bettez, ‘Trees for Tribs’ Planting at Sojourner Truth Park, New Paltz

“Sweep is a catalyst that has made people a lot more excited about Sojourner Truth Park landing and has brought people back down to the Wallkill River and a place that has been under-appreciated for years.

“When people realize what good work is being done, it just snowballs.”

Willis Elkins, Newtown Creek, Brooklyn

“On the Riverkeeper Sweep, we continued ongoing cleanup and restoration work at the Penny Bridge site; a former bridge crossing on Newtown Creek which has sat empty; overlooked and overgrown for many years. The site has an amazing view of the Manhattan skyline, the new Kosciuszko Bridge and of course the Creek itself. Volunteers collected trash and debris, much of which had been dumped at the site and was half buried in the ground – everything from tires to barrels, construction material and of course plastic bags. We also oversaw landscaping work that included setting up planters; removing invasive weeds and path making.

“Although a challenged environment, we hope our efforts can make a small impact in bringing back nature and community to Newtown Creek. One highlight of our sweep event was having a loon hang out on the water as we toiled away. We will continue work on the Penny Bridge site in Brooklyn all summer and encourage folks to come volunteer with us on upcoming work days.”

Check the Alliance website for updates:

Suzie Baer, East River Park, Manhattan

“My Sweep location was along a very beautiful promenade next to the East River. Several of my volunteers regularly run or bike along this path and wanted to do their share to clean up. My 16-year-old son was charged with handing out shirts and my 13 year old daughter checked each person in.”

“My love for Riverkeeper began in 2011 when I participated in my first NYC triathlon and it hit me that I was going to swim in the Hudson River!  I scanned the Riverkeeper website for all the information I could find to reassure myself that it was safe to swim. I even called to speak to someone when I looked like it would rain for several days before the race. Riverkeeper is a trusted source of information about the Hudson River.”

Sarah Salem, Dutchess Outreach, Poughkeepsie

“It’s an honor to be a part of such an incredible collective impact! It’s so encouraging to see the number of sites and sweepers grow each year through the City of Poughkeepsie.”

Daria Gregg, George’s Island, Montrose

“Riverkeeper Sweep was a success, but most people wanted more junk to clean up… Many of the participants are regular users of the park and really love their park.”

Andrea Hogan, North Creek, Adirondacks

“North Creek’s first ever Riverkeeper Sweep was a huge success. We had 13 volunteers, ranging in age from 6 to 60. While racers from the 60th Whitewater Derby sped by on the river, we cleaned 2 miles of riverbank, collected 96 pounds of garbage and recycling.

“Following the sweep, the crew joined in the awards ceremony for the Derby and were recognized in front of a crowd of 200 for their contribution to the weekend.”

Wayne Chernek, Riverfront Park, Beacon

“I can only say it was great to see people from all age groups at our river sweep event. We are all stewards of the environment.”

Asher Pacht, Dennings Point, Beacon

“Beacon Institute is proud to join this group of dedicated folks in caring for our beloved park and river. Together, we cleaned up a total of 1,140 pounds of trash and recyclables from the Dennings Point shoreline. We will see you next year!”

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