/ Natural Resources
People with canoes enter river at boat ramp

The New River Valley Regional Commission is facilitating the expansion of clean-up efforts along the New River. Working with Floyd, Giles, Montgomery and Pulaski Counties, and the City of Radford, the Regional Commission is assisting clean-up efforts to become a regional impact. Using Giles County’s ReNew the New organization, a proven local entity working in Giles County for the past 14 years, clean-up efforts along the river will be coordinated on a regional basis for the first time.

Cleaning up the New River has been ongoing in the communities along its banks. Working together as a region to improve the river’s health and aesthetics provides greater benefits to local communities as a whole because it pools limited resources needed for river clean-ups together for a much greater impact. Cleaning up the river also helps the region economically, as it ensures the river’s continued use as a tourism asset.

In December 2015, the Regional Commission opened a dialogue with the Floyd, Giles, Montgomery and Pulaski Counties, and the City of Radford, to address the possibility of a regional clean-up effort. The localities agreed to use ReNew the New as a model for the region. ReNew had held successful clean-up events in Giles County since 2001, and had a way to organize events that could possibly be replicated in other areas. Leaders in Economic Alliance Development (LEAD), a consortium of state and federal agencies, worked with the Regional Commission to organize an approach to expand ReNew the New in the region. Over the next several months, the Regional Commission assisted representatives from local governments, businesses, advocacy groups, and private citizens, in working together to create a plan for a regional clean-up event, based on the past events held by ReNew the New. A steering committee met in February and March, while three sub-committees met in March to create plans for a luncheon to build community support, the clean-up event itself, and the organizational structure to manage future events.

The Regional Commission and LEAD held a luncheon in April to present the plan for the clean-up event to the local government leaders, advocacy groups, industry leaders, and the media. Response to the river clean-up event was enthusiastic, with leaders from each group voicing support for the effort.

The regional clean-up event, called “Fall into the New”, scheduled for August 27th, 2016, at Bisset Park in Radford, will serve as “training” event for localities involved. The event will cover 11 miles of river, with volunteer teams putting in at separate locations. These volunteers will be guided along pre-selected sections of the river to retrieve and return trash to disposal sites along the river. A lunch with an awards ceremony will be hosted for volunteers at the conclusion of the event. This year, Giles County will act as the trainers to the other localities in the preparation and operation of the event, with the intention for the separate localities to hold their own events in the future.

For further information regarding the regional expansion of the New River clean-up efforts, please contact Michael Gottfredson (michaelg@nrvrc.org), 540-639-9313, ext. 205.  ReNew the New Website: https://www.renewthenew.org/

For media coverage regarding this effort please see the following links: