Clean the Bay Day

31st Annual Clean the Bay Day


9:00 am-Noon

Each year, on the first Saturday of June, thousands of Virginians simultaneously descend on the rivers, streams, and beaches of the Chesapeake Bay watershed to remove harmful litter and debris. Thirty years strong, Clean the Bay Day is a true Virginian tradition and an annual opportunity for families, military installations, businesses, clubs, civic or church groups to give back to local waterways.

The 31st Annual Clean the Bay Day Needs YOU!
Saturday, June 1, 2019

We need:

Clean the Bay Day Partners
Clean the Bay Day Zone Captains 

We can't do it without you!
For more information, contact

For information about sponsorship opportunities, contact April Strickland at 757-644-4115 or

The 30th Annual Clean the Bay Day (CTBD) was another big success all around the Virginia Commonwealth. On Saturday, June 2, 2018, we saw sites all over Virginia teeming with volunteers on streams, rivers, trails, and shoreline giving a little back to (by taking a lot away from) our waterways. All those individual contributions have a massive cumulative effect: In just three short hours we saw hundreds of miles of stream and shoreline unburdened of harmful debris and litter by the ton… and several thousand people had a great time doing it.

Since the event began in 1989, Clean the Bay Day has engaged approximately 158,000 volunteers who have removed more than 6.63 million pounds of debris from more than 7,734 miles of shoreline.

As usual, we had a great showing of elected officials, appointees, their staff, and press. And there was action all over:

  • Elected officials from all levels of government and both sides of the aisle participated, many of whom took to social media (#CleanTheBayDay) to voice their support of CBF and the Bay, including for the first time in the program's history (!) the Governor and First Lady of Virginia. 
  • Governor Northam took his involvement to the next level by personally asking all his Secretaries and every state employee to register for Clean the Bay Day, which gave us a noticeable jump in our numbers. 
  • Governor Northam was joined by Secretary of Natural Resources Matt Strickler, Dept. of Conservation and Recreation Director Clyde Christman, Senator Lynwood Lewis, and our own Harry Lester and Will Baker for a big cleanup in Cape Charles.
  • We also continued our bilingual "Día de la Bahía" tradition, which attracts volunteers from the Richmond-area Latino community.
  • The "Omni-Cat," an innovative pontoon boat that collects trash floating in waterways, was hauled in from Illinois and hit three areas in major need of cleaning.

    See last year's stats in the sidebar.

    As usual, the most common items found during the cleanup were plastic bottle and bags and cigarette butts. Participants also found many strange (and dangerous) items including a five-gallon bucket of battery acid, an entire car engine, a leather jacket, an antique phone from the early 1900s, an ultrasound (it's a boy!), a grip of unpaid D.C. parking tickets, three (deceased) exotic fish in an aquarium, two washing machines, a gumball machine, and (of course) a kitchen sink. There were many other items that would not be prudent to report here.

    What You Can Do the Rest of the Year

    While we pull some pretty bad stuff out of our waterways each year, we always encourage our volunteers to "go beyond litter" and address the less visible factors and behaviors that threaten the health the Bay. Check out more ideas for what you can do every day to help Save the Bay.

    About Clean the Bay Day

    While litter is easily prevented and can be picked up by anyone on any given morning, tackling the major unseen threats to the Bay watershed, like degrading habitat, polluted runoff, and nutrient pollution, require broad and focused support. Clean the Bay Day often performs as a gateway program through which children and adults alike embrace environmental stewardship of their waterways. We hope you will help us in our mission to Save the Bay by learning more about the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint, our best and perhaps only chance to finally restore and protect the Bay and her rivers and streams.

    Clean the Bay Day is a model for cooperation: The program is built on lasting relationships between dozens of cities and counties, non-profits, military installations, small businesses, and large corporations. On Clean the Bay Day, we all come together with families, individuals, church groups, and elected officials from local, state and federal levels for a common cause: clean water.

    Clean the Bay Day is predicated on strong cooperation and important, lasting relationships among CBF and dozens of partners, including municipalities, non-profits, the U.S. military, businesses, and corporate sponsors. We are always welcoming new partners and sponsors to share the limelight with us! If you'd like to know more, please send an email to or call 757-622-1964.

    The Bay Needs You

    The 2018 State of the Bay Report makes it clear that the Bay needs our support now more than ever. Your donation helps the Chesapeake Bay Foundation maintain our momentum toward a restored Bay, rivers, and streams for today and generations to come.

    Donate Today


    Do you enjoy working with others to help clean the Chesapeake Bay? Do you have a few hours to spare? Whether growing oysters, planting trees, or helping in our offices, there are plenty of ways you can contribute.

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