Friday, August 28, 2015

Episode 180 Revisited (8-31-15; update of 9-23-13): Virginia Waterways Cleanups

CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (3:23)

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, photos, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 8-28-15. 


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of August 31, 2015.

MUSIC - 4 sec

That excerpt of “River Song,” by the Floorboards, opens a repeat of our episode on Virginia waterways clean-ups, last broadcast in September 2013.
   Our next new episode, Part 2 of Oysters, Nitrogen, and the Chesapeake Bay, will air during the week of September 7, 2015.

This week, we feature a series of
mystery sounds.  Have a listen for about 15 seconds, and see if you can guess what these sounds have in common.  And here’s a hint: this is an aquatic case of garbage in/garbage out.

- ~ 17 sec

If you guessed trash found commonly in waterways, you’re
unfortunately right!  Those were the sounds of a plastic bottle, an aluminum can, a plastic bag, plastic utensils, glass bottles, a straw, and a paper bag—all among the top trash items typically collected by volunteers in the annual Virginia Waterways Cleanup.  Each year between September 1 and October 31, Clean Virginia Waterways—located at Longwood University in Farmville—leads a statewide effort by thousands of volunteers to remove trash from Virginia’s streams, rivers, lakes, and coastal areas.  Participating groups include schools, businesses, churches, watershed associations, and other organizations.  The Virginia effort is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, organized annually since 1986 by the Ocean Conservancy.  You can find the cleanup nearest you at

Thanks to the Floorboards for permission to use this week’s music.
  And thanks to two Blacksburg neighbors for making this week’s sounds, and they get the last word: Please help keep our waterways clean!

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.


This episode revises the episode done originally for the week of October 10, 2011, and repeated during the week of September 23, 2013.  Thanks to Joey Mignone and Ocean Moore for making this week’s sounds, recorded October 8, 2011.

This week’s excerpt of “River Song” was taken from a live performance by The Floorboards at the Cary Street Cafe in Richmond, Va., on December 13, 2013; used with permission.
  The recording was accessed from The Floorboards’ page on Internet Archive,  More information about The Floorboards is available online at  “River Song” was featured previously in Virginia Water Radio Episode 228 (8-25-14).


Besides plastic and paper items, automobile tires are a common trash item found in waterways, such as here in the Middle Fork Holston River in Washington County, Virginia, October 3, 2010.

This improperly disposed-of trash was about one-quarter mile uphill from Toms Creek in Blacksburg, Virginia, on September 22, 2013.


According to the Clean Virginia Waterways Web site (at,ICCinVA.html), the 10 most-collected trash items in the 2014 Virginia cleanups were the following:
Cigarette Butts 33.46%
Food Wrappers (candy, chips, etc.) 10.61%
Beverage Bottles (Plastic)9.46%
Beverage Cans 6.12%
Other Plastic Bags 4.86%
Grocery Bags (Plastic) 4.62%
Bottle Caps (Plastic) 4.19%
Beverage Bottles (Glass)  3.96%
Straws, Stirrers  2.26%
Cups & Plates (Foam) 1.58%


Used in Audio

Clean Virginia Waterways Web site,; the direct link for organizing a clean-up or registering for an existing one is, or contact Clean Virginia Waterways at (434) 395-2602 or

International Coastal Cleanup,

Ocean Conservancy Web site,

For More Information about Waterways and Trash

Seth Borenstein, What’s in 90 percent of seabirds’ guts? 1 word: Plastics, Associated Press, as published by Washington Post, 8/31/15.

Clean Virginia Waterways historic data on Virginia clean-ups (back to 2001), available online at,ICCinVA,historic.html.

International Coastal Cleanup’s “
2015 Report: Trash Free Seas: Every Piece, Every Person,” available online at

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/Office of Response and Restoration, “Marine Debris Program,” online at

Staunton [Va.] News Leader
, Volunteers pull tires and more from Middle River, 9/13/15.

Trash Free Potomac [River] Network, online at

University of Georgia, “Marine Debris Tracker” (site for citizens to document their findings of marine debris or litter), online at

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Trash Free Waters,” online at


Please see the “Waste Management” category at the Index link above (


This episode may help with the following Virginia’s 2010
Science Standards of Learning (SOLs):

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme

4.9 - Va. natural resources, including watersheds, water resources, and organisms.

Grades K-6 Living Systems Theme

2.5 - living things as part of a system, including habitats.
3.6 - ecosystems, communities, populations, shared resources.
4.5 - ecosystem interactions and human influences on ecosystem.
6.7 - natural processes and human interactions that affect watershed systems; Va. watersheds, water bodies, and wetlands; and water monitoring.

Life Science Course

LS.11 -
relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science Course

ES.8 - freshwater resources, including groundwater, and influences by geologic processes and the activities of humans.

ES.6 – renewable vs. non-renewable resources (including energy resources).
ES.10 – ocean processes, interactions, and policies affecting coastal zones, including Chesapeake Bay.

Biology Course

BIO.8 - dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems; including nutrient cycling, succession, effects of natural events and human activities, and analysis of the flora, fauna, and microorganisms of Virginia ecosystems.

The episode may also help with the following Virginia 2008
Social Studies SOLs:

Civics and Economics Course

CE.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

World Geography Course

WG.7 - types and significance of natural, human, and capital resources.
WG.10 - cooperation among political jurisdictions to solve problems and settle disputes.

Government Course

GOVT.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at