DENVILLE, NJ - Helpers are needed to remove litter and debris from the Rockaway River in Denville on May 13 during the annual Denville Rockaway River Cleanup.

The event, sponsored by the Denville River & Streams Committee, the Township of Denville and St. Clare’s Health will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. No experience is necessary, just a desire to clean the river to retain its beauty and help prevent flooding.

Denville River and Streams Committee Chairman George Strother is leading efforts to find the places on the river where debris, trees and trash are most likely to cause backups and flooding. He is working with volunteer groups and the Denville Department of Public Works to mount a full “attack to keep the river flowing.”  

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Event-day registration, check-in and site assignments for the cleanup will begin at 9 a.m. at the lower parking lot near the emergency room entrance at Saint Clare’s Denville Hospital at 25 Pocono Road in Denville.  People are welcome to help for two hours, a half-day or the entire day. Refreshments, bags, and supplies will be provided.

Those who choose to help area being asked to wear long sleeves and pants as well as sturdy boots or waders. They're also being encouraged to wear sunscreen and insect repellent and, if possible, to bring work gloves, branch loppers and/or bow saws. Volunteers under 18 are welcome, but must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

The river cleanup day began six years ago when Denville Mayor Tom Andes created the River and Streams Advisory Committee after Hurricane Irene caused serious flooding along the 3.5 miles of river and streams flowing through Denville.

The first cleanup work also entailed removal of woody debris from the extensive tree damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

The event grew in popularity and now draws more than 150 volunteers. “At the end of day, participants are dirty, tired, sweaty and smiling standing next to piles of tires, trash and woody debris” Strother said.

More than 600, 55-gallon bags of litter and trash, 1,500 cubic yards of woody debris, 500 tires and numerous large plastic and metal items such at hot water heaters, appliances and auto parts ranging from fenders to engines to television sets, iron pipes, fencing, discarded construction debris and even, ironically, a “DO NOT DUMP” sign has been collected during past years' cleanups.

Although there have not been any significant storms for the past several years, debris and litter continue to pile up in the river.

For more information or to register online visit the township’s municipal website at www. Denvillenj.org and click on the calendar link for May 13 on the home page. You may also visit www.facebook.com/TownshipOfDenville to link to the event registration and for up-to-date postings. 

The rain date is May 20.