About Rivers Alive
Rivers Alive is Georgia's annual volunteer waterway cleanup event that targets all waterways in the State including streams, rivers, lakes, beaches, and wetlands. The mission of Rivers Alive is to create awareness of and involvement in the preservation of Georgia's water resources. Rivers Alive is held annually each fall and is a program of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division Outreach Program.
Georgia's 70,150 miles of streams and rivers need your help. Our waterways provide us with fresh drinking water, great recreational opportunities like canoeing and fishing, and they serve as a pleasant respite from our busy day to day lives. This is your opportunity to help protect one of our most precious resources. Help us clean our rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands by joining in support of Rivers Alive.
Thank you to our past volunteers who come from all walks of life - non-profit organizations, corporations, community and civic groups, school groups, faith-based groups, individuals, governmental agencies, and others.
Become a Cleanup Volunteer
To locate a cleanup near you, visit our Locate a Cleanup page.
Volunteers are needed for a variety of tasks (may vary with cleanup):
- Serve on planning committee
- Locate waterway for cleanup
- Recruit volunteers/sponsors
- Assist with event day setup
- Pick up trash
- Record data
Want to do more?
- Organize a local cleanup
- Sponsor Rivers Alive
- Monitor water health through Georgia Adopt-A-Stream.
- Bring water education to the classroom with Georgia Project WET (Water Education for Teachers).
- Participation in a Rivers Alive clean-up is one of the badge requirements for Georgia State Parks' Get Outdoors badge for children.
History of Rivers Alive
Initiated by Curtis Farrar, a past DNR Board Member, the idea of a river cleanup event was conceived in the early 1990’s with the first cleanup being organized by the DNR Wildlife Division in 1992. This “statewide” cleanup focused attention on the Oconee, Ocmulgee, Satila, and Alapaha watersheds. In 1993, organization of the cleanup was divided among the various divisions within DNR: Wildlife Resources, Environmental Protection, Coastal, and Water Resources.
In the mid 1990’s, Georgia Adopt-A-Stream became the lead program spearheading the annual river cleanup. It is important to note that throughout the 90’s other government and non-government organizations also conducted cleanup events at different times of the year, focusing on particular regions or watersheds within the state. At that time, there was no collaboration between government and non-governmental organizations.
In 1999, a significant change occurred – the various cleanup organizations throughout the state unified for the first time to form Rivers Alive. The rationale was that there would be many advantages to forming a single, unified cleanup up: the primary advantage being the solicitation of private donations from corporations to support our cleanup organizers and volunteers.
For the past 20 years, Rivers Alive has seen tremendous growth. Its success is a direct result of the event organizers from across the State who take the time to arrange a cleanup and Rivers Alive Advisory Board who put in countless hours assisting with the program to make it successful. Continued success of the Rivers Alive program is dependent on a strong volunteer base that is concerned about and prepared to take action to clean and protect their local waterways. Each year Rivers Alive produces an annual report highlighting the work done. The report includes final tally results and newspaper articles from across the state.