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Renew Our Rivers spring cleanups help prepare Alabama lakes for summer fun

After two years of limited activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Alabama Power’s Renew Our Rivers (ROR) program has kicked into high gear again in 2022, with volunteers helping get Alabama waterways ready for summertime recreation.

Mike Clelland, who has led Alabama Power’s ROR program for eight years, said volunteers have been excited to get back to the cleanups.

“We haven’t missed a beat,” Clelland said, referring to the 15 ROR cleanups held since March 5. “Despite the pandemic, people still had a good attitude and still wanted to participate.”

Renew Our Rivers off to strong start in 2022 waterway cleanups from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

More than 1,500 volunteers have participated in the 2022 cleanups so far, removing more than 43 tons, or more than 87,000 pounds, of trash. Since its start in 2000, ROR volunteers have removed more than 16 million pounds of trash and debris from local waterways.

Sam Marko, board member and treasurer for the Weiss Lake Improvement Association, said his group works closely with Alabama Power, the company’s Shoreline Management team and other supporters to protect the environment and the cleanliness of the lake.

The ROR event for Weiss in April, included about 150 people who collected nearly 3 tons of trash in and around the lake.

“All year long we try to have some sort of community cleanup to keep the lake looking beautiful,” Marko said. “Alabama Power and Mike (Clelland) have been wonderful partners in our efforts.”

The cleanup schedule includes a brief pause for summer, but volunteers will be back at it in August, with the next cleanup scheduled for Aug. 4 at Alabama Power’s Plant Miller in Jefferson County. See the full schedule and contact information for future cleanups here.