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Water Quality

Adopt-a-Stream or Pond

A stream cleanup involves volunteers walking along a stream or paddling a stream channel, collecting trash and gathering information. Information gathered can include types and quantities of trash, debris too large to move, and problems encountered.

We promote 4 options for cleaning streams:

  1. (Year round) Join the Adopt-A-Stream or Pond Program (AAS/P) – clean at least once a year for a two year commitment. 

  2. (April) Lead or be part of a Potomac River Watershed Cleanup (Alice Ferguson Foundation) – one-time cleanup (can be established as an annual event).

  3. (September or October) Lead or be part of an International Coastal Cleanup (Clean VA Waterways) – one-time cleanup (can be established as an annual event).

  4. (Year round) Earth Team Volunteer Cleanup Lead or be part of a one time cleanup (contact about this option).

If you have any questions about these 4 options or would like help choosing the option that would be best for you, please contact Veronica Tangiri, the Adopt-A-Stream Coordinator at (571) 379-7514,


1. Adopt-A-Stream or Pond Program (Year Around)


What is Adopt-A-Stream or Pond?
There are about 1,100 miles of streams in Prince William County. In the Adopt-A-Stream or Pond (AAS/P) program, volunteers agree to pick up litter along their adopted stream segment of at least ¼ mile or a stormwater management pond, once (preferably twice) a year for a minimum two year commitment.

The Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District (PWSWCD) promotes and helps administer the cleanup program on behalf of the Prince William County government and its citizens.

When you register for a cleanup event, you can order all of the gloves, trash bags, and vests you need for that cleanup. The supplies will be sent directly to you.

After completing at least one cleanup, your AAS group will receive a metal “Adopt-A-Stream” sign (with the group’s name and stream/pond name) from us that will be erected at the stream site. Contact PWSWCD for instructions on erecting the sign.


To register for a clean-up, click here or contact Veronica Tangiri at

Who Can Adopt a Stream or Pond? 
Scout Troops, 4-H clubs, ecology clubs, schools or school clubs, families, individuals, businesses, church groups, sports teams, home-school groups, or other organizations can adopt a stream. Students can use the time toward community service hours. Businesses are strongly urged to join the AAS/P program and receive recognition for their stewardship of the environment. Your group or organization can help preserve, protect and revitalize community streams. The AAS/P program benefits our local Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds. It is easy, fun, and a great team-building experience for all ages. Join us and you will really make a difference!

For information or to schedule a speaker for your group about the AAS program call 571.379.7514 or

How Do I Get Started? 
Prince William Soil and Water Conservation District can help individuals or groups find a stream (see map below) or you can select a stream on your property. 

Established Group: Go to Established Group Procedures if your group is already signed up under AAS.

Starting Your Own Group - Go to Start Your Own Clean-up Site for steps on how to start your own clean-up group

Click here to Register your Clean-Up Site (can be submitted online; only submit once)

Click here for an Application Form (needs a signature)

Important Documents:

Liability Release Form (for Individuals)

Liability Release Form (for Groups)

Liability Sign-In Sheet

Manual for Adopt-A-Stream/Pond

Safety Guidelines

Map of Sites Open for Adoption:

Adopt-A-Stream/Pond sites Open for Adoption

Potomac River Watershed Cleanup
2. Potomac River Watershed Cleanup (April)
(Alice Ferguson Foundation)


What is the Potomac River Watershed Cleanup?

This cleanup takes place in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia – all part of the lands, or watershed, that drain into the Potomac River. Locations include fields, forests, parking lots, and other ‘inland’ sites, where trash is removed before it enters creeks and other waterways. 

Why participate?

The Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup has become a decisive catalyst for progress that ignites people throughout the watershed with the Alice Ferguson Foundation's community spirit. The largest regional event of its kind, the Cleanup provides a transforming experience that engages citizens and community leaders and generates momentum for change.


How do I participate?

If you would like to be a Site Leader and host your own stream cleanup:

  • A.) Choose an available stream to clean (Map Coming Soon). You may clean a stream on your property or on public property. Please contact the PWSWCD AAS Coordinator to double check if the stream is still available.

  • B.) After you have completed step A, click here to register on the Alice Ferguson Foundation website.

  • C.) If you would like to borrow litter grabbers or arrange to have your stream cleanup trash picked up and weighed by the county, please contact the AAS Coordinator

    If you would like to volunteer to help clean a stream at an already established site click here (the Alice Ferguson website). 

Internatinal Coastal Cleanup
3. International Coastal Cleanup (September-October)
(Clean VA Waterways)

What is the International Coastal Cleanup?
Every September 1 to October 31, volunteers across Virginia from the mountains to the oceans gather along the shorelines of rivers, lakes, ponds and bays to pick up trash as part of the Clean Virginia Waterways (CVW) Cleanup Day (part of the International Coastal Cleanup). They also complete "International Coastal Cleanup Data Cards" from the Ocean Conservancy, helping to collect valuable information about the amounts, types and sources of debris found along Virginia's waterways. CVW's cleanup events educate the public on issues of freshwater and marine pollution, especially the preventable problem of litter. 

Note: The official date for the International Coastal Cleanup is the third Saturday in September. Here in Virginia, cleanup coordinators can select any date in September or October that best fits their schedule. 

Why participate?

The International Coastal Cleanup is active in most states, and in 100 countries. As volunteers in Virginia are bagging trash and filling out data cards, more than 350,000 people worldwide are doing the same! Ocean Conservancy compiles the data received from sites around the world, and prepares a summary report to be used by citizens and policy makers in evaluating our progress in dealing with this serious form of pollution. The International Coastal Cleanup is the world's largest volunteer data collection effort devoted to the marine environment. 

If you register a cleanup site with CVW, they will provide you with trash bags, gloves, data cards, and possibly some freebies, for all of your volunteers. In addition, they usually send the site captain a free tee-shirt.

How do I participate?

If you would like to be a Site Captain and organize your own stream cleanup site:

  • A. Choose a stream to clean (Map Coming Soon). You may clean a stream on your property or on public property. Please contact the PWSWCD AAS Coordinator to double check if the stream is still available.

  • B. After you have completed step A, register on the Clean VA Waterways website.

  • C. If you would like to borrow litter grabbers or arrange to have your stream cleanup trash picked up and weighed by the county, please contact AAS Coordinator

If you would like to volunteer at a local "Clean Virginia Waterways" site and be part of the International Coastal Cleanup (Clean VA Waterways website).

Top Ten Litter Items from Virginia Waterways Cleanups
1. beverage bottles (plastic, 2 liters or less)
2. cigarettes/cigarette filters
3. bags (plastic)
4. food wrappers/containers
5. cups, plates, forks, knives, spoons
6. beverage cans
7. glass beverage bottles
8. caps, lids
9. building materials
10. toys

Stream Cleanup Site Map
Stream Cleanup Site Map

Updated 4-21-2022

Click Here to go to a map of open Adopt-a-Stream spots!

  • Orange - Sites available for adoption

  • Green - Sites currently adopted

If you find a spot you would like to adopt, or have an idea of another spot, please e-mail Veronica Tangiri at

Stream Cleanups are a Huge Success!

In 2017 872 volunteers cleaned 74.25 miles of streams and picked up 29,037 pounds of trash! A big THANK YOU to all of the groups that cleaned streams and helped to improve water quality in Prince William County! We really appreciate your efforts! 

To learn what you can do right now to improve water quality in your local waterways to the Chesapeake Bay you may join one of our Stream Cleanup Programs (see above) or e-mail AAS Coordinator at

Most unusual items found in streams in Prince William County 2017:

  • boat

  • shopping cart

  • ladder

  • bath tub liner

  • cabinet doors

  • grill

  • 3 bikes

  • soccer cleats

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