This is my End of Season report for cleaning the Potomac River shoreline at Caledon Natural Area in King George County. It has been an adventure that isn’t finished, but will continue. With the coming of Fall and fewer nice days to work, activity on this task will slow down for a while.
This season has been great fun and I want to share some of the statistics that I have gathered. Trash is picked up into a five gallon bucket and then dumped into a large trash bag. Each bag will hold between four and six buckets full depending on the weight of the materials picked up. Each bag is estimated to weigh twenty pounds or more when full. This season yielded one hundred and eight bags or over one ton of trash.
The things picked up are an amazing assortment of lost and discarded items. Examples include: Beer cans (a few remaining intact that pop and foam when the tab is pulled); soda straws; lighters; assorted footwear; plastic dinnerware; combs; brooms; expended shot gun shells; bottle caps; visors from ball caps; cooler parts; a gas tank; a fish finder; bottles; bait containers; bobbers; radio tubes; fishing poles; a duck decoy; a plastic owl; and an inner tube for a truck tire.
Principal among the finds are BALLS! This season produced a total ball count of 420! Among the balls found, types included are: Soccer; Football; Basketball; Bowling; Tennis; Baseball; and Softball. The most prevalent ball found is a tennis ball. Some are new and proud of their yellow fuzz, others old and naked. Early on it was obvious that I would always find one or more balls so I started counting them and keeping track. Soon this developed into a measure of the success of any given day cleaning the shoreline. The more balls found, the better the day. The best day for this year was September first when I found fifty seven balls.
Then things got even more involved and I began calculating the rate of finding balls per hour. This way the success of short work periods could be compared with longer ones. The best day evaluated this way was again September first because it was a reasonably short period with a high ball count. Ball count for this day was 16.3 balls per hour.
Another item that bears somewhat of a mystery is CAR TIRES mounted on wheels. The season count for such tires is thirty. The source of tires finding their way into the river and washing ashore here is unknown.
One item that can be explained is Crab pots that break away and wash ashore. Count of recovered Crab pots is twenty three.
In addition to a large quantity of trash being removed from the shore line, this has been a great season of enjoying the wildlife including Eagles and deer.