ST. GEORGE — The city of St. George has launched a community-wide initiative aimed at keeping the area’s waterways free of trash and debris through the new “Adopt a Waterway” program. Under the program, people and groups can adopt a segment of stream or river running through their community and help keep it clean and inviting.
“Unfortunately, there is an incredible amount of trash that finds its way into our waterways,” Brandon Burrows, coordinator of the city’s Adopt a Waterway, said in a press release. “Our waterways are vital to the health and beauty of our community. Too often, when I go out to inspect, I notice evidence of dumping or illicit discharges. This cannot continue.”
An individual or group can go online to the city’s Adopt a Waterway website and pick a segment of waterway – be it a part of the Virgin or Santa Clara River or one of the many washes spread between Ivins and Washington City – where they pledge to pick up trash and remove debris at least twice a year.
The website features an interactive map showing the segments of waterways that have and have not been adopted and which groups have adopted particular segments.
The adoption of a segment of a waterway can be for up to two years, and more than one segment can be adopted by the same group at a time. These groups can also qualify to get their names on an Adopt a Waterway trail sign following their first clean up event.
“These waterways supply water to our community and they are habitats to countless creatures,” Burrows said. “It is essential that we put in the effort to start cleaning up the waterways before the pollution and carelessness becomes irreversible — and future generations are left wondering why we never acted.”
Trash and debris left to accumulate in waterways can have a slew of negative impacts on the environment and human use as habitats are harmed and water quality is degraded.
The Environment Protection Agency lists the various ways mismanaged trash can harm waterways on its website.
In addition to cleaning the waterways, the initiative is also seen as a way “to foster a sense of community responsibility and volunteerism,” the press release states.
While Burrows is listed as the primary contact for St. George, the Adopt a Waterway program is also observed in Ivins, Santa Clara and Washington City, and have associated contracts for each city listed on the program’s website.
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