Renew Our Rivers removes 316,000 pounds of trash from Alabama lakes and rivers in program’s 20th year

Renew Our Rivers removes 316,000 pounds of trash from Alabama lakes and rivers in program’s 20th year
A volunteer cleanup crew with debris removed from Lake Demopolis in one of this year's Renew Our Rivers cleanups. (contributed)

Renew Our Rivers volunteers removed more than 316,000 pounds of trash and debris from Alabama lakes and rivers in 2019.

More than 4,500 volunteers participated in a cleanup this year, which was Renew Our Rivers’ 20th anniversary.

The 2019 campaign went out with a bang and ended with some of the largest cleanups of the year.

One of those was on Lake Demopolis on Oct. 4-5, which witnessed a record turnout.

“We had an excellent turnout this year, and we are so excited to see the Renew Our Rivers program continue to grow in our community,” said organizer Jesse Johnson.

More than 100 volunteers worked in Demopolis to remove more than 23,000 pounds of debris from the lake and surrounding areas.

“This is truly such a community effort. We couldn’t continue to make such a difference without the continuous support from our partners and volunteers,” Johnson said.

The final cleanup of 2019 was held the first weekend of November on Lake Martin.

Despite chilly conditions, more than 220 volunteers turned out to help. Many of those were students, including Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Camp Fire girls, third- and fourth-graders from Stephens Elementary School and student-athletes, clubs and organizations from Central Alabama Community College.

Lake Martin Resource Association president John Thompson said 650 large bags of trash were removed from the shoreline as well as 300-plus bags of litter from nearby roadways.

“This is the 15th LMRA Renew Our Rivers, and each year the participation has grown and the results have increased,” Thompson said. “Lake Martin is without a doubt the cleanest lake in the South, and with the continued help from all these committed, dedicated volunteers, we will be able to keep it that way.”

Since Renew Our Rivers was founded in 2000, more than 120,000 volunteers have removed almost 16 million pounds of trash from waterways across the Southeast.

“We had an increase in the number of volunteers and pounds of trash removed in 2019 from the previous year,” said Mike Clelland, who coordinates Renew Our Rivers for Alabama Power. “We hope to continue that momentum into 2020 and beyond.”

A full calendar of 2020 cleanups will be available in January. To see how you can get involved in the campaign, visit

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