Friends of Accotink Creek
Potomac Watershed Cleanup
April 2022




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 2022! Thanks to all their efforts, we together removed 209 bags of trash, 16 tires, and junk ranging from computers to a gasoline can to a skateboard.

See all our cleanup photos on SHUTTERFLY !

Our April 23, 2022 stream cleanups:

Another splendid day for stream cleanups. Temperatures began in the mid-50's and rose to about 80 by midafternoon, with sunny skies dotted with a few clouds all day long.

At our first location, Fairfax Blvd, we had a crew of 36 volunteers who removed 28 bags of trash. We were joined by A group of company volunteers from CareFirst. Thank you, CareFirst! Our most unusual find today was a Korean style tabletop.

One CareFirst volunteer stretched a bit too far to collect a just-out-of-reach bit of trash. He lost his balance and suffered a cut to his forehead on a rock. Fortunately, his group had no shortage of health care experts who used our first aid kit to dress the cut.

As usual, the crews of Fairfax City Public Works were on the spot to collect the trash right after our cleanup, taking some bags right from the hands of returning volunteers.

At our second location, Chain Bridge Road, we had 11 volunteers, who removed 9 bags of trash. The same deeply buried shopping cart that defied us last year was still there and defeated our efforts once again. Our most unusual find here was a soggy bedsheet.

Old Lee Hwy, our last location of the day, saw a turnout of 14 volunteers who collected 17 bags of trash. Our volunteers included a contingent from Jack and Jill Northern Virginia Chapter. Thank you, Jack and Jill! Our most unusual finds here were a garden rake and milk crate in good condition. The milk crate found a new home with a volunteer.

A little wildlife drama occurred when a returning volunteer found a strange soft round object clinging to her rubber boot. Placing the boot in the water reanimated the object and revealed it to be a harmless but fascinating Turtle Leech (Placobdella parasitica) Facebook video


Volunteers of Jack and Jill Northern Virginia Chapter rally before the cleanup

The crew of Troop 702 drives their harpoons into Moby Tire
Our April 16, 2022 stream cleanups:

We had another day of splendid cleanup weather, with clear skies and mild temperatures that began cool in the mid-50's, but rose to just shy of 80 degrees by mid-afternoon. It was on the breezy side, so we kept our awning only halfway raised as a precaution.

At King Arthur Road, our first site of the day, Our 48 volunteers included groups from Cub Scout Packs 817 and 868 and from Boy Scout Troop 702. - Thank you, Pack 817, Pack 868, and Troop 702! Our volunteers collected 16 bags of trash and 3 tires.

The scouts of Troop 702 took on some large pieces of trash that had defied removal for many years. One was "Moby Tire" a large truck tire deeply embedded in gravel that required an hour of effort to remove. Another challenge was two sections of highway guardrail concealed and tangled in vines.

At our second site of the day, Little River Turnpike, we had a smaller crew of 7 volunteers. Our volunteers collected 16 bags of trash and 6 tires. We also managed to extract a recently dumped engine block. Our most unusual find was the rather startling discovery of a breast milk pouch. Perhaps, if one were to search long enough on Accotink Creek there is nothing that might not appear.

Braddock Road was our last site of the day. Our 19 volunteers included a joint contingent from Chi Upsilon Sigma sorority and Phi Iota Alpha fraternity of George Mason University - Thank you, Chi Upsilon Sigma and Phi Iota Alpha! The crew collected 19 bags of trash and 2 tires. Our most unusual find here was a two-wheeled skateboard.

Our volunteers were able to observe the recently completed stream restoration here, which has turned a stretch of Accotink Creek into a series of large pools with gradual drops between them.

Our April 9, 2022 stream cleanups:

We started out with bright partly cloudy skies, then things turned overcast by noon. A few stray raindrops fell, just enough to say it was raining, but not heavy enough or long enough to slow us down. Comfortable temperatures stayed in the 50's all day.

At Pickett Road, our first site of the day, we had a turnout of 45 volunteers. Of the volunteers, 35 were a group of international exchange students with American Councils for International Education. Thank you, American Councils! Our volunteers hauled 30 bags of trash and 1 tire out of the creek. Our most unusual find here was a tablet computer, muddy and cracked beyond hope.

At Barkley Drive, our second site of the day, our 12 volunteers included Providence District Supervisor Dahlia Palchik, two members of her staff, and her infant daughter. Thank you, Supervisor Palchik! Our volunteers cleaned out 13 bags of trash and 1 tire. One young neighbor told us of her effort to construct trash traps out of stones placed across the creek. This same young neighbor brought in our most unusual find here, a museum-worthy Apple disk drive dating back to the 1980's.

Woodburn Road was our last site of the day. We had a smaller group of just 6 volunteers. Our volunteers collected 11 bags of trash and 1 tire. Our oddest find here was a roadside water depth gauge, perhaps washed out by previous high water at this place where the road is frequently underwater. We also found a large wall mirror left by the road, which one volunteer took to donate at Goodwill.


The volunteers of American Councils for International Education pause to pose on the bridge









Spill kit has spilled




Our April 2, 2022 stream cleanups:

Our day offered us sunny skies with just a few clouds all day long. We began with chilly temperatures in the 30's, but were on the mild upper 50's by afternoon.

At Fullerton Road, our first site of the day, we had a slim crew of only 4 volunteers, who collected 6 bags of trash. Our most unusual find here was nothing more interesting than an extending paint roller handle. One item we were unable to collect was a big yellow chemical spill control kit. The waterlogged absorbent material inside was just too heavy to move.

At our second site, Franconia-Springfield Parkway, another small crew of 6 volunteers hauled out 10 bags of trash. Our most unusual find was a spool of heavy cable. We were treated to the sight of pools in the woods teeming with newly-hatched tadpoles. A recently dumped heat pump near the road was also too heavy to carry out.

Our last site of the day was Telegraph Road, where 8 volunteers removed 13 bags of trash and 2 tires. Another tire impaled on a tree trunk was too much of a challenge to extract without a chainsaw. Our most unusual finds here were a gasoline container still holding some fuel and an empty paint sprayer tank.

Our March 27, 2022, stream cleanup:

Our day offered overcast skies, blustery winds, and temperatures only rising to 40 degrees.

Twenty members of Springfield Youth Club's West End Rugby team collaborated on a private cleanup at our Franconia-Springfield Parkway site. The volunteers collected 21 bags of trash. Our most unusual find today was a 30-bound industrial sprocket set which one of the volunteer parents took home to be refubished into home decor. This is the 7th year West end Rugby has joined our cleanups. Thank you, West End Rugby!








March 26, 2022, Country Club Hills stream cleanup:
Report from Country Club Hills: "The Country Club Hills Community hosted Friends of Accotink Creek and were joined by special guest Delegate David Bulova for our annual Creek Clean Up at The Commons. Some of our older children read a book called The Water Walker by Joanne Robertson, a book about a Native Americanís plight to draw attention to our special relationship with water. Another highlight for the kids, and adults alike was a stream monitoring, which catches and counts the number of macroinvertebrates in order to assess the stream health. We found our stream is not in great condition with a score of 5, but now are aware we all need to work to improve its health. We had a large crowd, collected lots of trash, learned about creek critters and overall had a great time taking care of our precious resources along with our neighbors." See all the Country Club Hills photos on Facebook
Thank you, Country Club Hills!


West End Rugby volunteers with their collection of trash bags.



Country Club Hills volunteers ready to begin.


The graphic report from Ted's solo cleanup.

Solo wintertime cleanup:

We want to recognize the impressive efforts of Ted Plunkett, who conducted his usual solo winter cleanup in the Wakefield Park area.

Ted has done cleanups like this for years in and around Wakefield Park, and he's earned our gratitude and admiration.

Thanks, Ted!



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 170,000 volunteers and removed more than 8,000,000 pounds 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





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.