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This weekend, Rensselaer Land Trust will host the 11th Annual Tomhannock Reservoir Clean-Up Day, Saturday April 13, 2019, in partnership with the City of Troy and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.  In 2007, then President of the Board, William Niemi was contacted by NYSDEC in efforts to find volunteers to help with the cleaning up of the fishing access and shoreline of the Tomhannock Reservoir. Niemi with the help of Chris Wheland from the Water Department of Troy mapped out an area to be cleaned and the first Clean-Up Day followed in 2008 comprised primarily of Rensselaer Land Trust members and volunteers.

In the following years, the number of volunteers grew to include members of Boy Scout Troop 257 of Brunswick, biology teachers from Troy and Tamarac, fraternities from RPI and SUNY Albany, the Sage biology club, and Homewaters Chapter 586. More recent cleanup days have required fewer volunteers as the continued efforts to clean up the reservoir have taken care of much of the accumulated trash and litter from years prior.

As the years continued, the torch of volunteer clean-up organizer was passed from Bill Niemi to Paul Schroeder and has begun to be passed once more to Bob Crowley with this year’s cleanup. Schroeder noted the early days of the clean-up were filled with “archaeological treasures” like old typewriters or farm implements. As the clean up efforts continued, these “treasures” have appeared less and less often and new trash and litter take their place. The reservoir continues to see new litter take the place of the old.  Litter now consists primarily of fast food wrappers, cigarettes, and beer cans. 

The clean-up will continue to be an ongoing project of Rensselaer Land Trust in our efforts to protect and maintain the watersheds of Rensselaer County for current and future generations. We as individuals can keep the 6.5 mile-long reservoir that provides water to the 135,000 residents in nine communities and three counties clean by being conscious of our trash disposal and choosing to save our litter for the appropriate trash and recycling receptacles.  

More information and a link to register for the clean up can be found here.

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