June is National Rivers Month!

Sangamon River Cleanup, IL | Bruce Colravy

Sangamon River Cleanup, IL | Bruce Colravy

June 1st marks the beginning of summer! And with summer comes longer days, shorter nights, family vacations, barbeques and our personal favorite-National Rivers Month!

Did you know that more than 250,000 rivers and streams run throughout America? Together, these waterways flow for nearly 3.6 million miles, providing drinking water to over 65% of Americans. The Outdoor Industry Association reports that nearly 175 million Americans ages six and older participated in outdoor activities on local waterways. Together, they pump more than 86 billion dollars into the economy every year!

But the truth is you can’t put a price tag on a river-especially when illegal dumping, litter, sewage and industrial runoff threaten the communities and ecosystems that depend on them. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than 290 million scrap tires are produced in the United States each year. That’s enough tires to circle the Earth 1.6 times! Unfortunately, many of these tires, along with other unwanted items, are dumped into rivers every year. To give you an idea, National River Cleanup® volunteers removed more than 36,000 tires from local waterways in 2012 alone.

In honor of National Rivers Month, we’re calling all paddlers, fishermen, outdoor enthusiasts and humans alike to organize or volunteer with National River Cleanup. By participating in a river cleanup, you help preserve these invaluable resources that make life on Earth possible. So what are you waiting for? There’s never been a better time to give back to the rivers that do so much for us!