StreamSweepers helps foundations, community groups, and local governments provide jobs and economic development through removal of plastics and solid waste from streams and rivers in the mid-Atlantic region.

Restoring People and Nature, One River at a Time


Jobs Created


Tires Removed and Recycled


Pounds of Trash Removed


Miles of River Cleaned

Click a photo to learn more about each project

Clinch River Project (2017 – current)
Virginia steam river clean up, Levisa

Central Appalachia Cleanup

An interstate effort to cleanup the Russell Fork, Levisa Fork, and Tug Rivers of the Upper Big Sandy watershed in Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky

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Endocrine Disruptor Testing

Pursuing the connection between our stream health and human health.

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Remediation and Comprehensive Cleaning

StreamSweepers is an award-winning, statewide river restoration, training and work experience program for college-aged young adults and veterans. In 2018, StreamSweepers completed their 4 year Rappahannock Watershed Cleanup Campaign – 140 miles of riverbed and 280 miles of riverbank, all ecologically assessed and remediated of toxic trash, some of which is known to leach hormone disruptive compounds into the water.

StreamSweepers FAQs.

This incredible undertaking would not have been possible without the hard work of former On-water and Program Managers, Debbie Manzari and Beth Seale (pictured right). No other enterprise on the East Coast has completed this type of work at this scale. As a non-profit, we rely solely on donations and sponsorships from generous people and dedicated organizations.

After two years of planning and assessment (2017/2018), we began cleanup on the Clinch River in 2019, working closely with many federal, state, and local agencies and organizations to ensure that we were not disturbing the threatened and endangered species therein. From our two years of assessment, we know that there are roughly 10,000 tires and countless tons of trash in its bed and banks. StreamSweepers hoped to finish cleanup in 2023 but found that a portion of the river in Tazewell County was, literally, a tire dump, with layers upon layers of tires buried in the river bed. Uncovering dumping to this degree was unanticipated and so cleanup will need to continue on the Clinch in 2024.

By removal of these dumps in the river, StreamSweepers hopes to improve water quality leading to improvement in biodiversity while providing meaningful work experience to residents of Southwest Virginia. Contact Clinch River Project Manager Wilder Meade at for more information.

This Clinch River work is dedicated to former Project Manager Maddie Gordon and On-water Manager Kira Lander Clinthorne.

We are also indebted to our occasional most excellent interns!


StreamSweepers began in 2012 as an intriguing idea. There was no track record, no plan, and no budget. A handful of special people pulled out their wallets and said, “let’s make this happen.”

Teddy and Emily Grennan
Randy Hudgins
Mark and Ann Kington

Garnett and Lucille Morton
David and Elizabeth Perdue
Somerset Plantation
Charlotte Tieken

River Health Reports and Assessments

Youth Training & Employment

StreamSweepers provides paid training and employment for our summer cleanup project crew members. Past training programs have provided education in a wide array of areas including hydrogeology, fluvial geomorphology, and business and ecosystem services.

For Sweeper crews who will be conducting river health assessments, we provide training in land cover and watershed health, macro-invertebrate identification and sampling, invasive plant species identification, and GPS data input and analysis.

All Sweeper crews receive training in canoe skills, first aid, logistics planning, and safety protocol. We also provide training in assessment protocol and data analysis to our volunteer partners, along with GPS equipment and tools.

StreamSweepers Awards

Many thanks to our generous sponsors and partners

We have improved the Chesapeake bay watershed and the Tennessee River Basin with our work in Augusta, Caroline, Culpeper, Madison, Orange, Rappahannock, Russell, Scott, Spotsylvania, and Tazewell counties.

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