About Trash Free River

Water Pollution on the St. Lawrence River

The problems of trash in the water of the St. Lawrence River have been well documented and can be observed on a daily basis by islanders and boaters.


Removing plastics and other man-made debris from the St. Lawrence River is a pressing concern and with our Trash Free River cleanups we hope to start an maintain an annual tradition of shoreline and River bottom cleanups removing a major source of pollution from The River.


All the plastics as they’re going into the river from society, they’re breaking down. They’re getting down to microplastics, Nano plastics; they’re getting into the fish and the birds gullets”, shared Save the River Executive Director John Peach.

fish with styrofoam

“I think the strongest takeaway I’ve seen is with the people getting the small little pieces of plastic, the small little pieces of fishing line, and realizing that in fact, those could be in a fish this afternoon.”

This has been proven during our cleanups with multiple instances of dead fish found on shorelines. These fish are often found to have broken down Styrofoam beads in their gills, a potential cause for the animals death.

“Cleanups like this are really important because they are a tool that you use to start people to think about how much waste is in the system,” Save The River Assistant Director Lauren Eggleston shared. “How much litter is in the system, and then take that forward and look at how you can reduce your own impact.”


The goal of these cleanups is to help protect, preserve and restore the Upper St. Lawrence River, now . . . and for generations to come.

How Our Cleanups Work:

Teams will register in advance and will be assigned their cleanup areas in advance. Cleanup kits and t-shirts will be available for pickup in advance from Save The River’s office. Releases must be signed prior to participation in the cleanup.


Day of:

      •  Check-in if needed day of
      •  Teams are at the assigned location by the designated time to start the cleanup
      •  Disposal of all/final trash by teams at a designated location
      •  Each day the cleanup area will be split into multiple locations for teams.
  • Teams will work together along the shore and from the water via kayaks to clean up areas up to 10 ft “above and below” the shoreline
  • Teams will be given a cleanup kit with trash grabbers, nets, large trash bags and other necessary items to safely remove trash from the shoreline and water. 

Trash Free River Sponsors

Our cleanup efforts are made possible thanks to the

Interested in being a program sponsor?

We are always looking for ways to work with new people! Our cleanups are a great way to volunteer with your team, get out on the river and promote your business. We are also looking for volunteers with boats, trucks and dump trailers to help make this event a success.  Email us at bridget@savetheriver.org to learn more!

download (8)

Click here to save our presentation as a pdf


About Save The River

Since 1978 Save The River has been the leading grassroots advocacy organization working to protect the St. Lawrence River.

Save The River leads advocacy campaigns to educate the community and pressure elected officials and government agencies to implement policies and programs that protect River health.

Save The River was designated the Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper and is a member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance. The Waterkeeper Alliance is the world’s fastest growing environmental movement, with more than 300+ local Waterkeepers patrolling rivers, lakes and coastal waterways on 6 continents