Trash-Free Shenandoah

Potomac Riverkeeper Network’s Trash Free Shenandoah Campaign

Combatting Litter and Raising Awareness about Pollution in the Shenandoah River

Trash Free Shenandoah logo

In 2022, the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, Mark Frondorf, Shenandoah Riverkeeper, along with his stalwart volunteers, Frank and Lisa Filipy, put out the call to a broader coalition of organizations, both public and private, as well as his growing list of SRK members, to start the Trash Free Shenandoah campaign. This campaign is designed to demonstrate our commitment to the Shenandoah River system and to protecting and defending our right to fishable, swimmable, and drinkable clean water.

In its inaugural events, centered around Earth Day 2022, the Trash Free Shenandoah Campaign brought volunteers to 62 sites throughout the Shenandoah watershed. This week-long clean-up consisted of over 100 volunteers and sixteen organizational partners that removed trash and litter along the length of the watershed.

Among these sites, volunteers extracted a variety of items. Tires, plastic bottles, styrofoam cups, plastic lids and bags are all items regularly found in the Shenandoah River and its tributaries.  In addition to these items, volunteers pulled out chairs, buckets, coolers, flip flops, a vehicle seat backrest, golf balls (and tons of them!), and even a barrel half-filled with soap, along with a lot of other trash. You can see our efforts in the video below.

The campaign continues with a major collaborative effort, again centered on the celebration of Earth Day, but also throughout the year. In 2023, Mark and his dedicated cohort of volunteers cleaned up nearly 70 sites on the South Fork, North Fork, and mainstem Shenandoah and its tributaries.  

As spoken by Mark Frondorf, our Shenandoah Riverkeeper, “individually we can all help clean up the river by picking up a can here or a bottle there. Every little bit helps. But when we come together, collectively, we can create real, positive and lasting change in cleaning up our Shenandoah watershed. Join the Trash Free Shenandoah Campaign and make a difference!”

The major goal of this campaign is to engage the community in our effort to make the Shenandoah River trash free.

You can also help keep the Shenandoah trash free by becoming a WaterReporter! Reporting trash that you see using the Water Reporter smartphone app will enable our Campaign to focus its efforts on those areas of the watershed most inundated with trash. This is a great opportunity to monitor and feel diligent about helping our Shenandoah become trash free on an individual or group basis!

Mark intends to keep this up – if you like clean rivers, contact him at for dates, locations, and times.

About Potomac Riverkeeper Network

Potomac Riverkeeper Network is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization with three regional Waterkeeper branches: Potomac Riverkeeper, Upper Potomac Riverkeeper, and Shenandoah Riverkeeper. Our mission is to protect the public’s right to clean water in our rivers and streams. We stop pollution to promote safe drinking water, protect healthy habitats, and enhance public use and enjoyment.