The 2013 Rivers Clean-up has already begun in Santa Rosa County. The Clean up is held in the months of May, June, July, and August. This is a worthy opportunity for those who are environmentally concerned to participate in a tradition that benefits our rivers and brings out a sense of community pride.

The Blackwater Pirates have already been out with about 30 persons on April 20 and were especially impressed with the number of tires recovered at low tide. A Navy clean-up crew was out on 22 April.

During weekdays community Canoe Vendors make canoes available to organized groups for the price of serious clean-up participation.  (Guideline: each person bring at least one bag of liter).  Contact the Canoe Vendor of your choice and make individual arrangements: Adventures Unlimited at 623-6197; Blackwater Canoes at 623-0235; and Bob’s Canoes at 623-5457.

Weekends, families and other groups are asked to make a concentrated effort to pick up any trash they find while out enjoying one of our most precious natural resources.  The program emphasizes the Leave No Trace outdoor ethic of leaving an area you visit as good or better than when you came.

Launch YOUR boat at the launch site of YOUR choice, to clean up YOUR favorite section of the river or waterway.  Remember to bring plenty of sunscreen and water; a hat; water shoes; lunch; and some type of long-handled net or grabbers to bring trash in from the water.

Remember safety while on the water.  Keep life jackets handy, have small children wear life jackets, and keep an eye on the weather.  Afternoon thunderstorms can pop up quickly.  If you hear thunder, try to get to the take-out site before the storm approaches.  If lightning gets near, get out of the canoe and wait the storm out on a sandbar.  Do not get under a tree. Be cautious approaching a logjam for trash—snakes enjoy basking in the sun.

The Rivers Clean-up is sponsored by the Santa Rosa Clean Community System RIVERS WATCH Group.  Captain Walt Reese has spearheaded this effort for 29 years.  Other partners of the effort include Blackwater River State Forest, UF/IFAS Santa Rosa County Sea Grant Extension, NAS Whiting Field, and local Canoe Vendors.

For additional information contact: John Tonkin at 623-1930 or email:; Walt Reese at 623-9808 or email:; or Chris Verlinde at 623-3868 or email: