Clean the Bay Day

2022 Clean the Bay Day 1171x593


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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. Clean the Bay Day has been a staple for Virginia's Chesapeake Bay community since its inception more than three decades ago. A true Virginian tradition, it is an annual opportunity for individuals, families, military installations, businesses, clubs, civic and church groups to give back to their local waterways.

This short, three-hour annual event has a massive cumulative impact. Since 1989, Clean the Bay Day has engaged more than 158,200 volunteers, who have removed approximately 6.64 million pounds of debris from nearly 7,750 miles of shoreline in Virginia!

Signing up for Clean the Bay Day is easy!
Look over the map of areas with clean-up sites, choose your locality, and then register yourself or your group. From there, your information is sent to a Clean the Bay Day partner near you. You will then be assigned to a specific clean-up location. When you show up that day, come prepared to get your hands dirty, helping pick up litter and debris. All clean-up supplies will be provided on site.

Our partners need Zone Captains! Zone Captains oversee volunteers and the cleanup itself at an assigned site by compiling and reporting data from the event (weight of debris, number of volunteers, etc.). You can sign up as a Zone Captain during your registration. We ask all Zone Captains to attend one brief training session and help promote the event where possible. It is easy and you get a cool hat!

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 habitat loss, sediment, 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 last chance to finally restore and protect the Bay and its rivers and streams.

Clean the Bay Day is built on strong, 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 at local, state, and federal levels for a common cuase: clean water. 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 757-644-4122.

We would like to thank all of the volunteers, partners, and sponsors that make this event such a stellar success each year. On behalf of CBF and all the Virginia waterways leading to the Bay, thank you.

Clean the Bay Day DIY

Can't make it on June 4? This year's event is all about making efforts big and small. From May 30-June 3, you can conduct your own clean-up effort on smaller sites like your private property, school, workplace, or anywhere else you have permission. Please make sure you're able to dispose of any trash collected yourself. Visit the Clean the Bay Day DIY site for more information.

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.

To learn about ways you can improve water-quality and environmental awareness within the parameters of social distancing, check out this article on Keeping the Volunteer Spirit Alive at Home

2021 Photo Album

Support the Chesapeake Bay Foundation

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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