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Posted Monday, March 11th, 2019

Bethel Church and Whippany River Watershed Committee Lead the Event

Whippany River Cleanup Planned for March 23 in Morristown

Whippany River Watershed Action Committee is partnering with the Bethel Church of Morristown for a river clean-up.

Volunteers are invited to spend a Saturday morning cleaning up the Whippany River watershed where the river makes a U-turn in Morristown. Scout troops, church groups, families and individuals are all welcome to get involved.

The 9th Annual Whippany River cleanup is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to noon on  Saturday, March 23 and is sponsored by Bethel Church of Morristown and the Whippany River Watershed Action Committee. Recruits meet in the parking lot behind the church at 59 Spring Street in Morristown.

Volunteers are encouraged to bring gloves and wear layered clothing and sturdy shoes. The organizers will provide plastic bags, tools and drinking water.

Bethel began the River Clean Up in response to the flooding the church experienced in 2011 as result of Hurricane Irene. In addition to the annual river cleanup, the church continues to seek grants and support from the Town of Morristown to address the flooding issues in the 2nd Ward, said Reverend Sidney Williams, Jr., pastor of Bethel Church of Morristown.

Before and After photo of a field near the river

Before and after photos of a field near the river, showing the impact that volunteers make during this annual clean-up.


“We are hopeful that the recent focus on renovating Martin Luther King Avenue and Patriots Path can be expanded to included flood remediation and restoring native species to the riverbed,” he said.

“The commitment of the volunteers, Bethel Church and the Whippany River committee and their efforts to improve the environment are an example of what makes our county a great place to live,” said Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “We thank Rev. Williams, WRWAC and all of the volunteers for their efforts.”

During the spring, melting snow, flooding, and major storms deposit trash and other debris in and along the river. Tires, furniture, shopping carts, bowling balls and thousands of bottles are among the refuse that volunteers pull out of the riverbed every year, said organizer Len Cipkins of WRWAC. Once they even dug out a full-size plastic palm tree.

Previous cleanups in this area, where the riverbed makes a U-turn, have yielded 60 bags of garbage, weighing more than 3,000 pounds.

photo of volunteers cleaning up the river

Volunteers cleaning up the river

With headwaters in Mendham, the Whippany River watershed covers 69.3 miles in 16 municipalities in Morris County. It contains all of the streams and tributaries that drain into the Whippany River, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The 16-mile-long river, which is a tributary of the Rockaway River and eventually flows into the Passaic River, is a key source of drinking water for more than one million people in North Jersey.

Whippany River Watershed Action Committee is a Morris County-based nonprofit organization comprised of members from 13 municipal governments, the Morris County Board of Freeholders and other stakeholders. Visit the WRWAC’s website ( or Like them on Facebook (