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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 8, 2012

Contact: Lawrence Hajna (609) 984-1795
Lawrence Ragonese (609) 292-2994
                  Sandy Huber (Clean Communities)   (609) 989-5900

DASH FOR THE TRASH CLEANUP OF DELAWARE RIVER AND BAY

(12/P22) TRENTON - - Volunteers from a host of organizations such as scout troops, schools, businesses, and environmental and nonprofit groups, as well as local residents will fan out across portions of the Delaware River and Bay from Sussex to Cape May counties on March 10-18 to clean up litter and debris as part of the first-ever Dash for the Trash.

Dash for the Trash is organized by the DEP's AmeriCorps New Jersey Watershed Ambassadors Program and the nonprofit New Jersey Clean Communities Council. Patterned after last fall's highly successful Barnegat Bay Blitz, the Dash for the Trash is the first ever to focus an entire weeklong cleanup effort on the Delaware River watershed.

"The Christie Administration is committed to protecting the waters of New Jersey," said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin. "One of the main goals of this week-long cleanup effort is to provide an opportunity to those who live in the Delaware River basin and care about the future of the river and bay to become directly involved by doing something positive to help protect this invaluable natural and economic resource."

The cleanup will be held in conjunction with National AmeriCorps Week, which celebrates the volunteerism and service of AmeriCorps members who are playing a key role in organizing local cleanups.

Cleanups are scheduled at Duck Island in Trenton, Amico Island Park in Riverside, the Cooper River in Pennsauken, the Riverside Way Boat Access along the Pompeston Creek in Cinnaminson, Bulls Island State Park in Stockton, Mickels Run in Lower Township, Miry Run in Robbinsville, the Paulinskill River in Lafayette, the Maurice River at Peek Preserve in Millville, and the Delaware River in Phillipsburg.

The purpose of AmeriCorps Week is to recognize the commitment of members and alumni by highlighting their extraordinary impact across the nation every day. This year's theme is "AmeriCorps Works."

The AmeriCorps New Jersey Watershed Ambassadors program is an environmental community service program administered by the DEP to raise public awareness about water and watershed issues and to promote watershed stewardship through direct community involvement. 

 "As was proven during the Barnegat Bay Blitz, the spirit of service and volunteerism is alive and well in New Jersey," said Commissioner Martin. "We are looking forward to more of this same spirit during the week-long Dash for the Trash, which will pull people from all walks of life in one common goal - cleaning up the Delaware."

The idea to focus a cleanup on the Delaware River and Bay was suggested by Sandy Huber, Executive Director of Clean Communities.

"The Clean Communities Council is proud to support Watershed Ambassadors who will be cleaning portions of the Delaware River during AmeriCorps Week," she said. "Watershed Ambassadors are a model for volunteers all over the state who want to make a difference. Congratulations to the Christie Administration for leadership in promoting a cleaner New Jersey. Together, we are making a difference."

"The Watershed Ambassadors are extremely excited about the Dash for the Trash and look forward to spreading their enthusiasm for protecting the environment to others," said Michele Siekerka, DEP Assistant Commissioner for Water Resource Management. "Their concern for helping our waterways is infectious."

In addition to Clean Communities, sponsoring organizations include the Office of State/Lieutenant Governor's Office on Volunteerism, the Delaware River Basin Commission, the New Jersey Water Supply Authority,l and the New Jersey Environmental Infrastructure Trust.

Additional information regarding the Dash for the Trash, including the schedule for site-specific cleanups and how to register, can be found at:  http://www.nj.gov/dep/wms/bear/blitz.htm

MEDIA NOTE: Media interested in covering specific cleanup events may contact Akili Gordon or Kimberly Cenno in the DEP's Division of Water Monitoring and Standards at (609) 633-1441 or by email at Akili.Gordon@dep.state.nj.us and Kimberly.Cenno@dep.state.nj.us

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