Save The River’s Trash Free River Cleanups

Since September 2020, STR has hosted 9 successful TFR cleanups in the 1000 Islands and surrounding shorelines. As of August 1, 2022 2750 lbs of trash has been collected and properly disposed of from various locations along the river. We are looking forward to see how much we can accomplish together this summer.

Save The River has been cleaning up shoreline and boat slips for several years on both sides of the upper St. Lawrence River in an ongoing effort to make the St. Lawrence River “swimmable, fishable, and drinkable now and for generations to come”. These cleanups are community-based and volunteer oriented focused on the shore and water 10 feet inland of the shoreline and out into the 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 cleanup we hope to start an annual tradition of shoreline and River bottom cleanups removing a major source of pollution from The River.


Our cleanup efforts are made possible thanks to the Leonard C. & Mildred F. Ferguson Foundation and the Northern New York Community Foundation.

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 to learn more!

Trash Free River Cleanups

How it works:

Teams will register in advance and will be assigned their cleanup areas in advance. They will be able to pick up their cleanup kits and t-shirts in advance via a no-contact solution at 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. 
    •  *There will be a designated area for teams to dispose of their collected trash
    •  *View Our COVID-19 Protocols for this event.

Who Can Participate?

  •  *Save The River is encouraging local businesses to register a team, any business team will receive recognition on our website, social media, and in our semi-annual newsletter River Watch.
  •  *Families are also encouraged to register as teams, this is a family-friendly event but anyone under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. 
  •  *Individuals are also encouraged to register and will be assigned to a team and a specific zone.
  •  *Calling all kayakers! Save The River is hoping that our network of volunteers will help provide coverage from the water with your own personal kayak.

Past Cleanup Events