Stream Clean-Ups

cleanupTrash such as Styrofoam, plastic bottles, and grocery bags is commonly caught on streambanks. Organized stream clean-ups help to reduce the amount of trash in streams and prevent it from continuing downstream. The Gunpowder Valley Conservancy coordinates two major stream clean-ups per year and many smaller clean-ups. Groups of friends, families, service-hour students, and waterway stewards gather together at various sites across the Gunpowder watershed to pitch in and remove trash at their favorite stretch of creek or stream.

With the help of 10,000 volunteers, the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy has removed 234 tons of trash from streams and creeks in the Gunpowder watershed.

We need your help to continue making our waterways beautiful and accessible for recreational use.  Please join us in this important effort.

View our Calendar of Events to learn about clean-up events.


The Gunpowder Valley Conservancy’s Adopt-A-Stream program empowers individuals and groups to monitor, clean, and protect local streams and rivers in the Gunpowder watershed. Volunteer leaders (Stream Captains) attend a training workshop, “adopt” a 1/4-mile stream segment, collect information on their segment’s streambank and water conditions, and submit it to GVC. This information helps inform restoration activities that improve overall watershed health. 

Along with monitoring stream conditions, Stream Captains also agree to remove trash from their adopted segments twice a year, in the spring and fall. GVC supports these clean-up efforts by helping Stream Captains recruit volunteers, providing them with supplies, and promoting their events.

Interested in becoming a Stream Captain through our Adopt-a-Stream program? Check out these resources:

  • View our calendar of events and register online for an Adopt-a-Stream workshop
  • Contact Adopt-a-Stream coordinator, Darcy Herman, by email to find out if your local stream is in the Gunpowder watershed.


“It’s not something we have to wait for the county or state to handle. We can do something on our own.”
- Dan Doerfer, one of 72 volunteers who removed 4.5 tons of trash from Middle River Headwaters in 2013