The Linwood Environmental Commission partnered with the ACUA to start the Patcong Creek Cleanup in 2005, and since then it has gotten bigger with the help of new partners, said organizer Jim Rutala, of Linwood.
The group is now joined by the Patcong Creek Foundation Inc., the Great Egg Harbor River Council, the Somers Point Green Team, the Paddle Shack and new this year Ocean Heights Marina in cleaning up the tributary of the federally designated wild and scenic Great Egg Harbor River.
The 13th Annual Patcong Creek Cleanup will start at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, May 20, rain or shine, he said.
Patcong Creek runs through Somers Point, Linwood and Egg Harbor Township. It is the home of at least one pair of bald eagles, ospreys, herons and other wildlife.
The cleanup covers the entire tidal creek from the mouth of the Great Egg Harbor River in Somers Point to Bargaintown Pond in Linwood, organizers said.
The Paddle Shack, located on the creek off Ocean Heights Avenue, will again provide free kayaks to participants who make reservations in advance, Rutala said.
There are four drop-in/cleanup locations – Poplar Avenue Bridge, Hamilton Avenue Ramp, Ocean Heights Avenue and Somers Point-Mays Landing Road.
All volunteers are asked to register in advance by completing an entry form, which is available at Linwood City Hall and on the City of Linwood’s web site at www.linwoodcity.org/.
Volunteers will meet at the Linwood Public Works Building on Hamilton Avenue between 9:30 am and 10:00 am. where they the ACUA will give out free t-shirts, plastic bags, and gloves to volunteers, who will be dispatched to one of the four clean-up areas.
Boaters will patrol the water and pick up floating litter, while those on land will clean up the sides of the creek and bordering roadside areas. Those with motor boats will pick up full bags from paddlers and handle larger items.
There has been a free picnic each year for volunteers. This year it moves to a new location – the Ocean Heights Marina located at 5001 Ocean Heights Avenue.
The picnic starts at noon. Crabs that are freshly harvested from the Patcong Creek will be served along with sandwiches, subs, pizza and other goodies.
Organizers will give prizes for the muddiest volunteer, best trash found, and other categories.
The City of Linwood has purchased vacant property along the Creek to preserve it, Rutala said. The most recent purchase is a 17 acre waterfront tract behind the Cornerstone Commerce Center.
Other sponsors include the New Jersey Clean Communities Program, Linwood Public Works Department, Lang’s Garden Center, Glenn Insurance, Beacon Cycles, La Pizzatega, Primo’s Pizza, the Paddle Shack, Playland’s Castaway Cove and others.
To register call Linwood City Clerk Leigh Ann Napoli at 609-927-4108, or stop by Linwood City Hall. To reserve a kayak, call the Paddle Shack at 609-653-4FUN or stop by the Shack at 5012 Ocean Heights Avenue.