National River Cleanup® Organizers Handbook

American Rivers makes it easy for you to get involved. This National River Cleanup Handbook will provide all the information you need to organize a river cleanup.

by American Rivers

American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign.

With more than 3,660,000 miles of rivers in America, almost everyone lives within a mile of a river or a stream.
Unfortunately, each year millions of tons of trash end up in our nation’s rivers.

This program was launched in 1991 to help keep our nation’s rivers clean and trash free. Since it started, more than 1,149,900 volunteers have participated in thousands of cleanups across the country, covering more than 205,500 miles of waterways. These cleanups have removed more than 17 million pounds of litter and debris from America’s rivers and streams.

National River Cleanup® provides support to individuals, organizations, and anyone interested in conducting a cleanup on their local river. If you are interested in holding a cleanup on your river, American Rivers is here to help. By registering your cleanup with American Rivers, you will receive free trash bags, assistance with online and print media coverage, volunteer promotion online and technical support.

This program is successful thanks to dedicated organizers like you and the generosity of our donors and sponsors who provide financial support, volunteer time, and online activism.

Thank you for partnering with American Rivers’ National River Cleanup for your event. We are grateful for your commitment to keeping the nation’s rivers clean and healthy for generations to come.

About the Author


We combine national advocacy with field work in key river basins to deliver the greatest impact. We’re practical problem solvers with positions informed by science. With our expertise and outreach, we work to protect and restore our nation’s rivers.

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