Join American Rivers In Celebrating The 25th Anniversary Of National River Cleanup®!

Keurig cleanup | Lowell GeorgeA National River Cleanup volunteer
| Lowell George

National River Cleanup (NRC) is a key initiative for American Rivers. Since its inception in 1991, NRC has engaged more than 1.3 million volunteers who have participated in thousands of cleanups across the country, covering more than 252,694 miles of waterways and removing more than 25 million pounds of litter and debris. In 2015 NRC registered 1,370 cleanups at locations nationwide using 46,448 volunteers who removed 2 million pounds of trash.

Throughout 2016, National River Cleanup will celebrate its 25th anniversary! As we move into this milestone year, we will be engaging more volunteers and supporters across the country in our efforts to both recognize our impact as well increase the number of river stewards giving back to their communities.

Pledge to Keep Your River Clean!

That piece of trash that you see on the sidewalk is likely to end up in your local stream or river. Every year, National River Cleanup volunteers pull tons of trash out of our rivers. Let’s stop some of that trash from getting in the river in the first place.

Pledge to pick up pieces of trash from your streets or waterways. 

25th Anniversary Events:

In addition to continuing to support our local organizers, American Rivers will be holding river cleanups in our priority river basins throughout 2016. We already have a few cleanups on our calendar:

  • April 23rd: Thanks to all those who participated!
    • Anacostia River Cleanup – Washington, DC
  • May 14th: Sign up here!
    • Marsh Creek Cleanup – Oakley, CA
  • July 9th
    • Yampa River Cleanup – Steamboat Springs, CO
  • September 17th
    • Ashley River Cleanup – Charleston, SC
    • Nooksack River Cleanup – Bellingham, WA

Keep checking back to get the latest updates on our basin cleanups and how you can get involved!

2015 National River Cleanup Photo Contest Winner!

Congratulations to the Montreal River Cleanup for winning the 2015 National River Cleanup Photo Contest with a whopping 688 votes!

Thanks to all the organizers and volunteers who spent time cleaning up our nation’s waterways in 2015, and a special thanks to those who submitted their cleanup photos for the 2015 National River Cleanup Photo Contest! This year’s contest saw some impressive submissions as well as a tremendous number of votes (over 1,500!).

Montreal-River-Cleanup-in-Ironwood-MI--Rob-Hanson2015 NRC Photo Contest winner: Rob Hanson’s photo from the Montreal River Cleanup in Ironwood, MI

National River Cleanup’s 2015 Successes

Thank you for another great year of river cleanups! Because of the hard work of our organizers and volunteers, America’s waterways are cleaner, safer, and healthier.

In 2015, National River Cleanup®:

  • Registered 1,370 sites;
  • Mobilized 46,448 volunteers; and
  • Removed 2,002,671 pounds of trash from our nation’s waterways!

Working Together to Clean Our Waterways

National River Cleanup® was launched in 1991, offering support to individuals, organizations and anyone interested in conducting a cleanup on their local river. By registering a cleanup with American Rivers, organizers receive free trash bags, assistance with online and print media coverage, volunteer promotion online and technical support.

Since its start, more than 1,241,610 volunteers have participated in thousands of cleanups across the country covering more than 252,694 miles of waterways. These cleanups have removed more than 20.7 million pounds of litter and debris from America’s rivers and streams.

Take Action with National River Cleanup in 2015:


Register a Cleanup, Report Results, and Promote.


Learn more and Find a Cleanup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your questions. For more information email NRC or call 202-243-7033.