More than 100 miles of the Androscoggin River and its shores – from the New Hampshire border to the Atlantic at Merrymeeting Bay – will be spruced up this summer.

Organizers call the Aug. 8 to 14 project “the largest river garbage cleanup effort in Maine history.”

It’s being initiated by a nonprofit group, Communities Getting Involved, headed by Eric Goodwin of Turner. Goodwin and his group have already conducted two cleanups and plan a third this summer of the Nezinscot River in Buckfield and Turner.

Goodwin said that any sections of the 102-mile stretch of the Androscoggin that aren’t cleaned during the initial Monday-through-Sunday effort will see volunteers at some point later this summer.

The river is being divided into 20 different sections along the shores of 21 towns to accomplish the cleanup, he said.

Goodwin estimated that 2,100 to 3,000 volunteer hours and all the logistics and equipment to go with it will be needed to accomplish his group’s goals. He said that translates to at least 300 people putting in seven hours each.

CGI intends to enlist the participation of area organizations and individuals from a cross-section of communities to support the cleanup.

And the 21 municipalities along the river are being asked to help with volunteer recruitment, transportation of garbage to transfer stations, and to donate $50 per mile of shoreline within their borders, except Auburn and Lewiston, which were asked to donate $75 per mile.

“We are getting great support from most municipalities along the river,” said Goodwin.

He said the cleanup also has drawn support from the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife with volunteers, the Androscoggin Land Trust and Androscoggin River Watershed Council as section leaders, and others.

“We are enlisting assistance from the mills, nonprofits, businesses, small community groups, single individuals, and anyone who wants to pitch in and be part of history,” Goodwin said.

He estimated that the cleanup will cost $9,000 to $12,000. The 21 municipalities have been asked to donate $9,675.

CGI is also starting a drive in river communities to help raise $32,500 to help with other events this year and to take the group into its next cleanup season.

For the Androscoggin event there are four levels of donations that can be made; $1 to $24 for a general donation, $25 to sponsor one trash picker, $100 to sponsor a trash picker boat, and $500 or more to be a co-sponsor for one of the 20 sections.

Donations to Communities Getting Involved may be sent to CGI, 52 Abenaki Way, Turner, ME 04282.

Go and do

What: Androscoggin River cleanup

When: Aug. 8 to 14

Where: From Gilead to Merrymeeting Bay

Contact: Eric Goodwin, 235-2058, [email protected]

More information: www.communitiesgettinginvolved.org


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