Norwalk River Rowers Help with Annual River Cleanup

From bottles, to plastic bags and tires, tons of trash was taken out of the river.

Samantha Sieber


What is the Norwalk River Cleanup?

The Norwalk River Watershed Association hosts the annual Norwalk River cleanup. They’ve been hosting this event for over thirty five years, and this year, it was on September 10th. Volunteers from within the community came together to pick up trash along the Norwalk River.

The NRWA is a nonprofit organization with the mission of improving the water quality of the 40,000 acre Norwalk River Watershed. Their goal is to “promote research, legislative advocacy, education, cooperation, and action on the part of the stakeholders in the seven watershed towns in CT”, Norwalk River Watershed Association.

Each year, the NRWA participates in the ICC, or International Coastal Cleanup. More than seventeen million people have taken part in cleaning the waterways near them, around the whole world. Along with that, more than 348 million pounds of trash has been collected from oceans, rivers, etc..

Last year, 6320 pounds of trash was collected along the Harbor Loop trail in Norwalk. The Norwalk River Rowing Association, or NRRA, has been volunteering with the river cleanup for several years now. One NRWA volunteer said “Norwalk River Rowing always has such a large group of kids willing to help out”.


How does the NRRA get involved?

With access to the NRRA coach launches, the athletes can be driven across and to other parts of the river to collect trash. This year, I had the opportunity to photograph this process with the help of NRRA team members Sofie Brauweiler, Abby Carpenter, and Izzy Redpath. Using the supplies provided by the Norwalk River Watershed Association, this group of girls filled trash bags from waste behind the Maritime Aquarium and from under the railroad bridge.



By collaborating with the NRWA to collect trash from the Norwalk River, it creates a safer, and healthier environment for the wildlife living on the river. Other than that, cleaning up the river makes a safer environment for the crew teams to row on. The overall impact of the cleanup is helping rid waterways of waste which can have a global impact. 

Water pollution has been impacting the environment for many years. “The UN says that more than 80% of the world’s sewage finds its way into seas and rivers untreated.” ( This pollution contaminates food chains, destroys biodiversity, and creates disease. That is where the NRWA cleanup comes in. By taking trash out of the Norwalk River and the Sound, it keeps animals, and people healthier.



If you want to get involved with the Norwalk River Watershed Association’s future volunteer events, check out their website, Home – Norwalk River Watershed Association. To get involved with Norwalk River Rowing, take a look at their website, Norwalk River Rowing – Community rowing on the Norwalk River since 1986. You can also email one of the coaches, Martin Villanueva – [email protected], or Vinny Houston – [email protected] for any questions or information.