NARROWSBURG – The Upper Delaware Council (UDC) awarded funds to the Pennsylvania townships of Damascus and Lackawaxen and the New York State Towns of Highland and Lumberland to assist with river and shoreline clean-ups this summer.
National Park Service Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River Acting Superintendent Malcolm Wilbur allocated a new budget line of $3,000 to the UDC on April 17 to incentivize river litter programs by UDC member municipalities.
The Council had expressed concerns over the Park Service’s discontinuance of their trash removal Cooperative Agreement direct contracts with river towns and townships due to federally burdensome administrative issues.
The UDC’s 2014 pilot program encouraged volunteer-based and self-sustaining clean-ups to maintain the pristine quality of the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River. Both existing and new programs were eligible.
Allowable costs included the purchase or rental of materials and equipment to aid in clean-up efforts, contracting for services, trash disposal at lawful sites, and publicity to recruit volunteers.
Four applications were received by the UDC’s May 30 deadline and the projects had to be completed by August 4. The UDC board authorized reimbursement payments of $500 to Damascus Township, $736 to Lackawaxen Township, and $882 each to the Towns of Highland and Lumberland. In Damascus, 31 members, parents, and leaders of the Calkins Agricultural 4-H Club organized two outings to clean the river on the water and along the shoreline between the Damascus Access and Milanville on June 22, then from Milanville to the Darbytown Access on July 25. The Damascus Township Roads Department coordinated the resulting trash pick-up, disposal, and recycling.
“It was a very positive experience for members of the Calkins Ag 4-H and helps to instill a real sense of community pride in them,” said Amy D. Wood, club leader.
Lackawaxen, Highland, and Lumberland each contracted with a private contractor, John Traver of Shohola, PA, to remove and dispose of river-related refuse between the high and low water marks of the Upper Delaware River within their municipalities.
The cleanups were performed either weekly or bi-weekly by canoe and foot patrol, with all collected litter sorted then recycled when possible.
The Town of Highland’s 2014 river clean-up contract extending through September 30, 2014 was $1,360 while the Town of Lumberland expended $1,000 in total.
Both towns had continued investing in self-funded annual river clean-ups after the National Park Service discontinued their program. Damascus Township also had an ongoing river clean-up program involving youth organizations for its 13 river miles, while Lackawaxen Township’s initiative was new.
“I would like to thank the National Park Service for reinstating some of the funding for this much needed clean-up to keep our river shoreline clean,” said Lumberland Town Supervisor Nadia Rajsz. The Upper Delaware Council was established as a non-profit organization in 1988 to oversee the coordinated implementation of the River Management Plan for the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River, a component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, in partnership with the National Park Service.
For information on the UDC, visit www.upperdelawarecouncil.org, stop by the office at 211 Bridge St. in Narrowsburg, or call (845) 252-3022.