Our Work

Annual Creek Cleanup

Photo: ©Philip Bogdan

Thank you to all our volunteers for a great 2024 cleanup!

2024 Creek Cleanup Results

By Greg Crider, Board Member, Friends of Little Hunting Creek
Originally published in Mt. Vernon on the Move, May 17, 2024

On a Saturday morning in April, the Friends of Little Hunting Creek (FOLHC) held its annual creek cleanup at nine sites. 132 volunteers collected 138 bags of trash along with a number of chairs, four shopping carts, an electric bike, a scooter, a tricycle, five tires, three buoys, a dock float, and a hot water heater.

North of Richmond Highway, three sites (at Janna Lee Avenue Bridge, Audubon Estates and Mount Vernon Plaza) were organized by Senator Scott Surovell and Delegate Paul Krizek, and a fourth site, at Harmony Place, was led by Nature Forward. South of Richmond Highway, cleanups were held in Gum Springs, Riverside Estates, and Wessynton neighborhoods, in Colonel John Byers Park, and at Fort Hunt Elementary School. Volunteers included Supervisors Rodney Lusk and Dan Storck, several Girl Scout troops, a Daisy troop, a Cub Scout troop, and a Trail Life troop. Volunteers came from as far away as Columbia and Baltimore, Md., and included a team of seven Ohio University alumni.

The Friends of Little Hunting Creek has conducted annual cleanups since 2002. Since records were first kept in 2006, 2,180 volunteers have collected 4,471 bags of trash, 329 tires, 210 shopping carts and thousands of pounds of trash. The amount of trash is much reduced in recent years, due in large part to Fairfax County’s Operation Stream Shield program, which pays homeless people to clean up trash from local waterways. A trash trap behind Mount Vernon Plaza and a county-wide plastic bag tax have also helped.

Photo of a crew from the 2024 Friends of Little Hunting Creek cleanup at Fort Hunt Elementary School
Mount Vernon District Supervisor Dan Storck and other volunteers at Fort Hunt ES (Photo courtesy of FOLHC)
Trash collected from the Jana Lee Bridge during the 2024 Little Hunting Creek cleanup
Some of the trash collected at the Janna Lee Avenue bridge, including abandoned shopping carts
(Photo courtesy of FOLHC)

But there still is too much trash in the creek (see more about the trends in trash on the creek on the FOLHC website). Betsy Martin, President of FOLHC, said, “What we’d really like to see now is a beverage container deposit law. Most of the bags we collect are filled with water bottles and other beverage containers. A bottle deposit law could really put a huge dent in the amount of trash in the creek and get us out of the cleanup business altogether. That’s our goal. People should be recycling beverage containers, not tossing them out of cars, down storm drains, or beside the road.”

In addition to cleanup efforts, the FOLHC is also working to promote more neighborhood access to the creek for recreation and respite. Fairfax County Park Authority plans to build a trail and boardwalk to an observation platform overlooking the creek in Gum Springs. 

For more information on the Friends of Little Hunting Creek visit: https://friendsoflittlehuntingcreek.org/ and consider becoming a member.

We’ve had some pretty spectacular cleanups over the years.

Just how much trash did we collect?

Click the button below to see the results of our most impressive efforts.

What We’re Working On

Here are some of our ongoing initiatives for improving Little Hunting Creek. Click a photo to learn more about what we are doing and how you can help!

Join Us!

Friends of Little Hunting Creek is a grassroots, volunteer-led organization that began as a group of genuinely concerned neighbors living near the creek. We need your help to protect this beautiful place – join us today!

Our vision is a beautiful, healthy creek that supports wildlife living in it and along its shores, and provides recreation and respite to humans that live nearby. We envision a shared sense of community responsibility for the health of the Little Hunting Creek watershed and appreciation for its beauty.

Photo: ©Philip Bogdan