Friends of Accotink Creek
Potomac Watershed Cleanup
April 2023

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 2023! Thanks to all their efforts, we together removed 161 bags of trash, 13 tires, and junk ranging from shopping carts to closet doors.

See all our cleanup photos on SHUTTERFLY !

Our May 20, 2023 stream cleanups:

A splendid day for stream cleanups. Temperatures hovered in the 70's, with sunny skies dotted with a few clouds all day long.

At our first site, Fairfax Boulevard, we had a crew of 12 volunteers, including a group from Highlight Technologies. Thank you, Highlight Technologies! The volunteers reported light trash conditions and collected only 5 bags of trash. Our most unique finds here were a rusty bicycle and a soggy cracked smartphone.

At our second location, Chain Bridge Road, we had 4 volunteers, who removed 5 bags of trash. The same deeply buried shopping cart that defied us last year was still there and once again defeated our efforts to dig it free. Our most unusual find here was a storm drain protector sock that evidently went down the drain it was supposed to protect.

Old Lee Hwy, our last location of the day, saw a turnout of 6 volunteers who collected 7 bags of trash. Our most unusual find here was a shopping cart, which volunteers returned to the nearby Home Depot. Another shopping cart we found was almost completely buried in gravel and remains there still.

Ironic Rubbish _ Storm drain protection medallion washed away down the stormdrain

Banana baby teether found in Accotink Creek
Our May 6, 2023 stream cleanups:

We had a day of splendid cleanup weather, with clear skies and mild temperatures in the mid-60's to low 70's. One unusual observation was the number of tadpoles in the creek. It may be that the dry spring left many vernal pools unusable, driving frogs to the desperate move of breeding in the creek, where tadpoles are at risk of fish predation.

At Little River Turnpike, our first site of the day, Our group of 10 volunteers included a group from Covanta. - Thank you, Covanta! Our volunteers collected 12 bags of trash and 3 tires. Our most unusual find here was a toy electric riding motorcycle.

We enjoyed the sight of swallows flitting back and forth overhead from their nesting colony under the nearby highway bridge.

At our second site of the day, King Arthur Road, we had a smaller crew of just 4 volunteers. Our volunteers collected 8 bags of trash and 3 tires. Our most unusual find here was nothing more interesting than a wooden pallet. Bamboo shoots were in season. We collected a bag of these forager's treats to share with volunteers.

Braddock Road was our last site of the day. Disappointingly, of the 18 volunteers who had registered, only 8 showed up. The crew collected 13 bags of trash. Our most unusual find here was a Red Baron themed kite.

The evolution of the stream restoration on the tributary here offers some cause for misgivings, as many of its pools have accumulated deep deposits of methanogenic muck.

Our April 29, 2023 stream cleanups:

We started out with overcast skies with just a hint of drizzle. The clouds grew steadily thinner and thinner until we finished the day in bright sunshine. Comfortable temperatures rose from the mid-50's to the mid-60's by afternoon. Yesterday had seen steady rain all day, but the creek was not high enough to present any difficulty.

At Pickett Road, our first site of the day, we had a turnout of 49 volunteers. Our volunteers included the members of Boy Scout Troop 702 and a group from Christopher Companies. Thank you, Troop 702! Thank you, Christopher Companies! Our volunteers hauled 36 bags of trash and 1 tire out of the creek. Our most unusual find here was a closet door.

At Barkley Drive, our second site of the day, our 19 volunteers included a team from Thomas Law Thank you, Thomas Law! Our volunteers cleaned out 16 bags of trash. Our most unusual find here was a fishing rod, in good shape and bearing a goofy crawdad lure. One volunteer took the fishing rod to be offered in a Vienna sustainability exchange.

Woodburn Road was our last site of the day, where we had a group of 8 volunteers. The neighbors provided equine entertainment for volunteers and passersby when they led their horses out of the pasture beside the trail and allowed them to be petted. Our volunteers collected 11 bags of trash. Our oddest find here was a dismembered doll, looking like a homicide victim.

As we departed, the spring peepers were in chorus at the adjacent vernal pool. It seems late in the season for them, but they may have been celebrating the return of the rains and a filled pool after a very dry spring.

April 15, 2023, Cleanup:

Friends of Accotink Creek hosted a cleanup for the members of the Virginia Water Environment Association. Thank you, VWEA! The weather was warm and humid, but the predicted thunderstorms did not materialize. Our 8 volunteers collected 9 bags of trash and one tire. Our most unusual find was a beach umbrella base.

Geocache becomes geo-trash

Hauling away the shipwrecked outhouse door

Our April 8, 2023 stream cleanups:

Our day began with sunny skies that turned to light overcast in the afternoon. Temperatures were cool, rising from the 40's to about 50. A great day for hard work outdoors!

At Fullerton Road, our first site of the day, we had a crew of 9 volunteers, who collected 9 bags of trash. Our most unusual find here was chemical spill kit in a yellow barrel. We had spotted this spill kit last year, but found it too heavy to carry. This time, we had the bright idea of splitting the waterlogged contents among multiple bags and carrying the barrel separately. The new fence around the Costco lot compelled us to take the exhausting long way 'round to reach the creek.

This location is the Accotink Gorge, where Chinese wisteria threatens the exceptional native flora. Dominion has selectively sprayed herbicide on the wisteria in its easement here, but it was discouraging to see how many other invasives are rushing to fill the void.

At our second site, Franconia-Springfield Parkway, our crew of 8 volunteers hauled out 5 bags of trash. Our most unusual finds here were a patio lounge chair, a lawn mower motor, a National Park Service recycling barrel, and a portable restroom door. We were saddened by the sight of drying pools in the woods that are usually teeming with tadpoles. This has been an exceptionally dry spring.

Our last site of the day was Telegraph Road, where 6 volunteers removed 11 bags of trash and 1 tires. 5 of the bags were contributed by a resident of the woods who is making the best of his situation by regularly making the area cleaner. Our most unusual find here was a deer hunter's crossbow bolt with a lethal-looking tip.

West End Rugby Team with the mountain of rubbish they collected.

"Liquid Assets" found during Westmore cleanup.
Our April 1, 2023 cleanup:

Our day began with steady light rain, but the Springfield Youth Club's West End Rugby Team, along with coaches and family, turned out ready to work. Together, they faced hazardous muddy slopes and unwieldy nail-studded construction debris in the dumping fields along Americana Drive. By the time we finished, the sun was shining down on the pile of 43 trash bags, 1 water heater, 1 mini washer, 1 toilet, 2 mattresses, 2 chairs, 4 tires, half a dozen carpet rolls, and an estimated 2 tons of construction debris (mostly lumber, concrete chunks, and paint cans). Thank you West End Rugby

March 26, 2023 stream cleanups:

The City of Fairfax held a city-wide Community Cleanup focused on streams today and Westmore Civic Association hosted one of the cleanup sites, on Hallman Street, at the very source of Accotink Creek. True, that source is just the discharge from a storm drain, but such is the condition of so many streams in our region. The team collected 11 bags of trash, including a five-dollar bill in the creek and a rusty unidentifiable mechanical device. Trash in one section of the creek was dotted with numerous aquatic snails and their transparent jelly egg masses.

Our March 11, 2023, stream cleanup:
We enyoyed a mostly sunny day with temperatures in the mid 40's. Our cleanup today was a reserved event for Cultural Crossways, a group of international exchange students with American Councils for International Education. Thank you, Cultural Crossways! Our 28 student volunteers hauled 19 bags of trash, 1 tire, 2 basketballs, and 1 soccer ball out of the creek. Our most unusual find here was a milk crate. The students used the tire and soccer ball for an impromtu goal shooting contest.

Cultural Crosways exchange students improvise
a soccer shootout with found items. Watch your head!

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 campaign 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.