The annual DuPage County River Sweep is a county-wide self-coordinated stream cleanup and restoration event which has been held each spring for over 20 years. The purpose of the river sweep is to encourage volunteers to help “sweep our rivers clean” by picking up debris in and along the local waterways and restoring nearby land back to its natural state.
More than 9,500 volunteers have removed nearly 235 tons of garbage from DuPage County streams since 1991. The Sweep encompasses the East and West Branches of the DuPage River and Salt Creek, as well as many tributaries. In 2013 three records were set by amazing volunteers. Two include a record 43 miles of shoreline cleared and 13 tons of debris collected. Items such as an automobile rag top, electric piano, aluminum door, tires and more were removed.
Over 200 students from 18 communities throughout the DuPage River watershed participated in the cleanup. County-wide, 730 volunteers were spread throughout the watershed, maintaining our record setting pace for the sixth consecutive year. Since adding restoration to Sweep activities in 2009, more than twelve acres of land near waterways have been stewarded by volunteers removing invasive species such as buckthorn, garlic mustard, honeysuckle and multiflora rose.
If you would like to be involved in the 2014 DuPage River Sweep, there are three ways to get started: consider being a Community Liaison, Group Coordinator orIndividual Volunteer.
Community Liaisons assist Group Coordinators and their groups with selecting a section of stream. Through their own coordination litter may be removed from the area or restoration is available in select locations (see list here). Supplies and technical support are provided by organizations sponsoring the Sweep to help you coordinate your efforts.
Individual volunteers may request being assigned to a group or may work independently in an area of their choosing. Community Liaisons are available to assist individual volunteers the day of the Sweep as well. To learn more read our Group Coordinator’s manual highlighted above.