Adopt-a-River program cleans up Minnesota shorelines


Brinna Dochniak

Adopt-a-River  is a program put on by the Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Parks and Trails.

Adopt-a-River is looking for people in Minnesota’s communities to clean up the shorelines. The program is available to individuals, groups, businesses, families and students. They just have to claim a spot and register to improve it.

Sophomore Wyatt Blinkhorn said, “I’ve never heard about the Adopt-a-River Program, but to my understanding it is pretty similar to the Adopt-a-Highway Program that my family has taken part in.”

Adopt-a-River does not only apply to rivers, you can “adopt” a section of a lake, river, wetland, ditch or ravine as well.

When a person or group registers for a piece of shoreline they are obligated and required to do an annual clean up of the shoreline two years in a row.

“I would definitely consider getting a group together to clean up some shoreline. I think the main cause of the polluted shorelines is the fact that people neglect to throw away their garbage. I think more signs and/or more trash and recycling bins should be put along the shorelines so that there is no excuse for not throwing away any of your garbage,” said senior Jake Ousley.

After registering volunteers receive a free cleanup kit. The how-to kit contains information on how to organize and clean up along with a packet answering basic questions volunteers may have about the program and why what is taking place is important.

Junior Rachel Hartwig said, “I do not think the Adopt-a-River program is the complete solution to the polluted shorelines however, it is a step in the right direction.”

Adopt-a-River is very similar to the well known Adopt-a-Highway program. All 50 states have some type of Adopt-a-Highway program and hopefully that will be the same with the Adopt-a-River program in the future.

“I am familiar with the Adopt-a-Highway program but have never been able to participate. I feel that there is a stronger chance for me to participate in Adopt-a-River because being that I live in Stillwater, which is along the St. Croix River and with Minnesota being the land of 10,000 lakes, the pollution problem hits a lot more close to home and feels more personal,” said Ousley.

Adopt-a-River may not be the solution to the pollution problem going on across the country but it is definitely a good step towards fixing the problem at hand. “Adopting” some type of shoreline requires minimal time and leisurely effort. Everyone should consider becoming part of the program because one person will not make a huge difference but a large group could.