Many communities have sites that local citizens have committed to maintaining.  Adopt-a-Road programs have existed for many years now, and now Adopt-a-River programs are growing in popularity as well.  Citizen groups including school or campus organizations, businesses, families and more sign up for a particular stretch of a road or stream, and collect garbage, trim overgrown brush, and remove deadfalls along the roadside or the streambanks a few times each year.   These groups typically have a sign posted acknowledging their groups’ efforts in the designated area. 

The visual benefits of a cleaner environment are clear to anyone traveling these routes.  However, the secondary benefits should also be recognized:

  • Developing citizen “ownership” of the area
  • Providing individuals with opportunities to get outside and engage in the outdoors
  • Informal monitoring for new invasive species
  • Developing civic leadership in young people through sponsoring organizations
  • Reduced expenses for municipalities for litter control

Information on existing road and stream clean-up program can be shared with citizens though web-sites, newsletters, newspaper articles, and more.  Check out these popular programs, or contact your local county or watershed group for information on efforts in your area.

About the Author

Maureen McBroom

Maureen A. McBroom
Environmental Coordinator

Maureen is dedicated to the protection and improvement of Wisconsin’s resources through close collaboration with municipalities and their citizens.  Efficient & effective implementation, driven by strong relationships and communication, are drivers behind her project implementation strategies.  She has experience in the WDNR’s Runoff Program, specifically issuing WPDES Permit coverage for construction site erosion control & long-term storm water plans, industrial storm water sites and municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permittees. Maureen has been with R/M since 2015.

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