Friends of Accotink Creek
Potomac Watershed Cleanup
April 2017




Thanks go out to all the Friends of Accotink Creek participating in the Potomac Watershed Cleanup along our 12 adopted stretches of Accotink Creek in 2017! Thanks to all their efforts, we together removed 244 bags of trash, 9 tires, and junk ranging from a helium tank to a grinning plastic skull.

See all our cleanup photos on SHUTTERFLY !

Our May 20, 2017 stream cleanup:

Fifteen volunteers from Asian American LEAD joined a special cleanup at our Fullerton Road location. Thank you Asian American LEAD!

The volunteers got out 12 bags of trash along the creek. Then they worked an area favored by illegal dumpers, where they removed 16 tires, a TV, 2 chairs, and the most surprising find of all, an intact pickup truck bed liner.

The volunteers arranged for the tires to be recycled by the Costco tire shop. We really appreciate Costco's help!


Volunteers in a celebratory after-cleanup moood!

14 hours, 20 acres, 21 bags of trash!

Heroic solo spring cleanup:

We want to recognize the impressive efforts of Ted Plunkett, who conducted solo cleanups through late winter and early spring in the Wakefield Park area.

Single-handedly, he removed 60 bags of trash, 16 tires, and strange items ranging from a newspaper vending machine to a kiddie pool. Ted documented his cleanups with photos and graphics we added to our cleanup photo album on SHUTTERFLY.

Ted has done cleanups like this for years in and around Wakefield Park, and he's probably out there now, taking care of our watershed.

Thanks, Ted!

Our April 29, 2017 stream cleanups:

Gray skies and a few raindrops threatened early in the morning, but we had clear skies for the rest of the day. It was hot, though, with temperatures rising to 90 degrees.

Twelve volunteers turned out for our first site, King Arthur Road. Together they removed 11 bags of trash and 2 tires. We were frustrated by three tires too firmly stuck to pull out - maybe next time. A group of volunteers combined forces to lift a manhole cover out of the creek and carry it through the woods to the trail for later pickup.

At our second site, Little River Turnpike, most of our 12 volunteers were with two groups, Excelsior College Alumni and Rotaract Club of Northern Virginia. Thank you, Excelsior and Rotaract! Our most unusual find here was a gas line marker sign.

Our last site of the day, and of the spring cleanup season, was Braddock Road. Our eleven volunteers cleared 17 bags of trash and three tires out of the creek. Several volunteers focused on a pair of large logjams with lots of trash caught behind them, including the use of a kayak to reach parts of one logjam. One volunteer unfortunately lost his cellphone in the creek.


Are you disgusted by bottle litter in Accotink Creek, too?
Join the Battle of the Bottle May 8, 2017! #trashdayofaction

Celebrity endorsement of bottled water for health!
There's nothing "smart" about water bottle trash!
Join the Battle of the Bottle, May 8, 2017! #trashdayofaction
Our April 22, 2017 stream cleanups:

Gray skies with nearly constant drizzle punctuated by rain showers followed us all day. The creek did not rise appreciably, though, so we were able to carry on with a good turnout or rain-proof volunteers.

At our first site of the day, Pickett Road, we had great support from the Virginia Water Environment Association (including their GMU chapter) and their partners in the American Water Works Association. The VWEA not only sent a contingent of volunteers, but also provided a welcome spread of snacks. Other groups joining the cleanup here were the American Heritage Girls St. James Troop nad the West End Rugby Team. Many thanks to all! Our 52 volunteers together removed 41 bags of trash and one tire. Our most memorable find here was a grinning plastic skull.

At our second site, Barkley Drive, our 10 volunteers collected 10 bags of trash and one tire. Our most unique find was a lost geocache container filled with toy snakes.

At our final site, Woodburn Road our 18 volunteers included Girl Scout Troop 1496. Thank you, Troop 1496! Many of the volunteers tackled a huge jam of thousands of trapped bottles and other debris collected in a side channel of the creek. Our most unusual find was a still-useable shovel, which will be put to good use by our sister group, Lands and Waters.

Our April 15, 2017 stream cleanups:

A sunny day with mild temperatures rising into the 70's made for excellent cleanup conditions.

At Fullerton Road, our first site of the day, we had eleven volunteers. Among them was Mt. Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck, who demonstrated impressive agility leaping from stone to stone to cross the creek. We collected 13 bags of trash and 2 tires here. Our most unusual find here was an orange traffic safety barrel, an item that is unfortunately not uncommon enough to encounter as trash in our creek.

The appallingly abundant invasive Chinese wisteria vines here were displaying their impressive but noxious floral clusters. We have hope the Accotink gorge Project will manage to reduce the invasion.

At our second site, Franconia-Springfield Parkway, a modest crew of 6 volunteers removed 8 bags of trash. Our most unusual find here was a fancy bottle of Voss "artisanal water from Norway". Can't these Norwegians trash their own streams? Join the Battle of the Bottle May 8th to protest bottled water litter from anywhere in the world!

Our last site of the day was Telegraph Road, where five volunteers removed eleven bags of trash. Several logjams here have collected atrocious quantities of trash dominated by the water bottles we plan to protest at the May 8th Battle of the Bottle. Our most unusual find here was a helium tank, providing insipration for the balloon brigade we plan to deploy at the Battle of the Bottle.



PR claims vs. reality! Is this what purveyors of bottled water consider sustainable? Plastic bottle litter fouls Accotink Creek just mile from Deer Park bottling plant, which uses Fairfax municipal water, not sparkling waterfalls! #trashdayofaction.
JMU alumni volunteers with a new recruit.
Our April 8, 2017 stream cleanups: Fine cleanup weather was with us for the entire day with bright sunshine and temperatures rising into the low 60's.

At our first location, Fairfax Blvd, we enjoyed an impressive turnout of 69 volunteers, with contigents from Scout troops 1513 and 114, JMU Alumni, and The North Face. Thanks to all! Also joining us were sisters of the Alpha Pi Delta professional sorority, doing service during their national meeting. Thank you Alpha Pi Delta! And yet more - we inaugurated a collaboration with the Country Club Hills civic association, sending a group of volunteers south of Fairfax Blvd to work a stretch of the stream where we had not ventured before. All the 35 bags of trash removed here were the usual routine rubbish - beverage bottles, cans, and pastic bags. Our vounteers did enjoy posing for photos with the spike-antered deer skull they discovered. Fairfax City is very prompt in hauling away collected trash - so efficient that the crew was on site removing bags even as we were readying to depart.

At our second location, Chain Bridge Road, we had a respectable turnout of 29 volunteers, including the returning crew from The North Face. Athough this is the farthest upstream site we clean, there was no shortage of trash. Our vounteers collected 35 bags of trash. Our most unique find here was part of a folding bed frame.

Old Lee Hwy, our last location of the day, was aso the quietest, with a modest turnout of seven vounteers. We found ony routine rubbish here - just fourteen bags of the usual bottles, cans, and plastic bags.

At the invitation of the Potomac Conservancy, we joined the #PotomacTrashTalk "Tweet Off", exchanging tweets during the day to encourage and applaud fellow cleanup groups.


Despite all the wonderful volunteers who have turned out to help, we are still outnumbered by the litterbugs. Your club, school, business, or other group is welcome to "GET YOUR BRAIN WET!" by joining Friends of Accotink Creek in next year's annual Potomac Watershed Cleanup in April & May and the International Coastal Cleanup in September & October! Volunteer site leaders and coordinators are needed!

Follow the Friends of Accotink Creek motto and "Find just one other person who cares".



See all our cleanup photos on our SHUTTERFLY page!

Since 1989, the Alice Ferguson Foundation has spearheaded the Potomac Watershed Cleanup. Now the largest regional event of its kind, the cleanup has engaged over 40,000 volunteers and 300 partners and removed more than 1500 tons of trash from the Potomac Watershed.

GET YOUR BRAIN WET! Join Friends of Accotink Creek in next year's annual Potomac Watershed Cleanup in April & May and the International Coastal Cleanup in September & October!

Learn more about Clean Virginia Waterways



Potomac Watershed Cleanup
Stream Cleanup Results
Spring 2013
Participants & Trash removed
Spring 2014
Participants & Trash removed
Spring 2015
Participants & Trash removed
Spring 2016
Participants & Trash removed
Spring 2017
Participants & Trash removed
Accotink Creek at Chain Bridge Road 24 volunteers
27 bags
12 volunteers
18 bags
13 volunteers
20 bags
25 volunteers
28 bags
29 volunteers
35 bags
Accotink Creek at Fairfax Blvd 37 volunteers
27 bags
20 volunteers
31 bags
34 volunteers
26 bags
21 volunteers
21 bags
69 volunteers
35 bags
Accotink Creek at Old Lee Hwy 15 volunteers
36 bags
13 volunteers
14 bags
31 volunteers
44 bags
23 volunteers
21 bags
7 volunteers
14 bags
Accotink Creek at Pickett Road 77 volunteers
56 bags
109 volunteers
43 bags
33 volunteers
31 bags
35 volunteers
47 bags
52 volunteers
41 bags
Accotink Creek at Barkley Drive 42 volunteers
29 bags
63 volunteers
44 bags
38 volunteers
44 bags
20 volunteers
21 bags
10 volunteers
10 bags
Accotink Creek at Woodburn Road 39 volunteers
33 bags
50 volunteers
24 bags
38 volunteers
59 bags
25 volunteers
33 bags
18 volunteers
32 bags
Accotink Creek at King Arthur Road 17 volunteers
11 bags
42 volunteers
37 bags
26 volunteers
26 bags
11 volunteers
11 bags
12 volunteers
11 bags
Accotink Creek at Little River Turnpike 17 volunteers
6 bags
63 volunteers
50 bags
17 volunteers
15 bags
46 volunteers
34 bags
12 volunteers
17 bags
Accotink Creek at Braddock Road 19 volunteers
16 bags
17 volunteers
23 bags
22 volunteers
22 bags
8 volunteers
8 bags
11 volunteers
17 bags
Accotink Creek at Franconia-Springfield Pkwy 46 volunteers
44 bags
9 volunteers
15 bags
43 volunteers
30 bags
9 volunteers
18 bags
6 volunteers
8 bags
Accotink Creek at Fullerton Road 11 volunteers
17 bags
44 volunteers
32 bags
39 volunteers
39 bags
20 volunteers
22 bags
11 volunteers
13 bags
Accotink Creek at Telegraph Road 9 volunteers
15 bags
16 volunteers
20 bags
37 volunteers
30 bags
9 volunteers
15 bags
5 volunteers
11 bags
Total 353 volunteers
317 bags
458 volunteers
351 bags
371 volunteers
386 bags
252 volunteers
279 bags
242 volunteers
244 bags


Litterbugs: Their selfish behavior is the "gift" that keeps on giving. Trash may be out of sight and out of mind for the litterer, but it continues to blight communities and habitats far removed in time and distance. When litterers make the decision to solve their immediate disposal problem irresponsibly, they are also making the decision to create problems that endure for generations. Filth is the monument they build for themselves.