Indian Head commands support Potomac shoreline cleanup

Gary McNeillie, Montez Toney, Anthony Brown and Hospitalman First Class Gary Byrum of Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division (NAVEODTECHDIV) comb the shoreline for trash as part of an Earth Day initiative in April at Indian Head. A group of 25 NAVEODTECHDIV volunteers collected 1,680 pounds of trash and additional 24 vehicle tires April 29 along the shoreline from Stump Neck Pier to helicopter pad.

Naval Support Activity South Potomac's Environmental Office at Naval Support Facility Indian Head hosted the 23rd Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup event on April 8. This multi-state initiative is coordinated by the Alice Ferguson Foundation in Accokeek, Md., to raise awareness of improper solid waste disposal and its effects on the ecosystems of the Potomac.

The Alice Ferguson Foundation was formed in 1954 as a nonprofit organization to "provide experiences that encourage connections between people, the natural environment, farming and the cultural heritage of the Potomac River Watershed." In 1989, the Alice Ferguson Foundation staff initiated the Potomac River Watershed Cleanup by removing trash from the Piscataway Park shoreline. Over the years, the cleanup has experienced exponential growth in volunteer participation and the total number of cleanup sites.

At NSF Indian Head, nearly a dozen Marines with the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF) collected 50 bags of trash along nearly one mile of the installation's shoreline. The recently restored shoreline along Strauss Avenue has accumulated a staggering amount of trash since construction was completed just last year, and the Marines did a commendable job collecting the beached garbage. Unfortunately, the cleanup scheduled for Saturday, April 9, was cancelled due to uncertainty of a government shutdown.

Naval Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division also hosted a shoreline cleanup at NSF Indian Head's Stump Neck Annex on April 29. In that event, 25 volunteers picked up 56 bags of trash and 24 tires. Volunteers targeted high visibility portions of the shoreline along the pier, causeway and helicopter pad areas.

As of this week, a total of 9,788 volunteers at 252 sites across the Potomac River Watershed participated in the cleanup by removing over 205 tons of trash and nearly 2,000 tires.