Thousands of volunteers clean river banks across New England

Hampden County

PALMER, Mass. (WWLP) – Saturday was the final day of the annual “Source to Sea Cleanup.”

Volunteers across New England spent their Saturday cleaning the Connecticut River and its tributaries.

“The Source to Sea Cleanup” is an annual effort that aims to clean the 410-mile river basin that runs along Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. Palmer residents picked up trash around the Swift River on Saturday.

Volunteers found a number of trash bags, a mattress, and even tires along the Swift River in Palmer. They told 22News why it was important for them to participate in this regional effort.

“These girls came down here to make a difference not only for Palmer and the rivers here, but for the oceans,” said Rebecca Leissner.

“It’s an important resource in town both for recreation and ecologically,” said Sarah Fortune, Conservation Assistant for the town of Palmer. “It’s a cold water fisheries stream. It’s an important habitat to steward and maintain.”

Fortune told 22News the amount of trash they’ve found around the Swift River has decreased over the years, while the number of volunteers has gone up.

“Source to Sea Cleanup” groups also cleaned up river banks, boat ramps, and parks in Chicopee, Amherst, and Greenfield. According to the Connecticut River Conservancy, “Source to Sea” volunteers have removed over 1,100 tons of trash in the last 22 years.

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