Waterway Warriors Welcome More Boots on the Ground to Clean Up
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Waterway Warriors Welcome More Boots on the Ground to Clean Up

Waterway Warriors Welcome More Boots-on-the-Ground to Clean Up

Waterway Warriors founder Sharon Noll first started picking up trash along the Pineda Causeway back in 2017.  After a few solo years, Noll started advertising her clean-up walks on the NextDoor app, inviting neighbors to join her. One day, co-founders Michelle Fitzgerald, Sherill Spaccio, and Sandra Leone all joined an event and quickly realized they shared the same commitment to maintaining the health and sustainability of our waterways. 

“That very day, we realized we shared the same passion, we shared the same mission, and we became a little more formalized,” Noll said.

Today, this self-funded organization holds what they call “boots on the ground” clean-up events on the second and fourth Saturday of every month. Between 15 and 30 volunteers show up at these morning clean-ups, including scouts, high school students, and groups from local businesses. 

Volunteers usually collect and dispose of common litter — cans, bottles, fishing line, and paper products — but also larger items like construction debris, car parts, and tires found around the South Tropical Trail overpass. 

“We need to remember that for every piece of garbage that lands on the bottom of the river, it is blocking any sunlight or nutrients from getting to that spot,” said co-founder Michelle Fitzgerald. “So for every spot that has debris on it, no sea grasses can grow. And some of the debris, like treated construction lumber, is even toxic as it breaks down.”

Removing trash and debris also reduces the risk of entanglement and accidental ingestion by our wildlife. 

With the help of donations from Tommy’s Express Car Wash, the Warriors have installed 27 large trash barrels at higher traffic locations along the Pineda Causeway to make it easier for boaters and fishermen to dispose of their trash easily.

Since they started tracking their collections in 2021, the Waterway Warriors have removed 39 tons of trash and counting!

“This weekend we collected and prevented literally 2 tons of trash from going into the water in less than 2 hours,” Noll said recently. “If every person could pick up ONE piece of trash a day, imagine what this county would look like, imagine what would happen to our waters, imagine what would happen to our sea life.”

“It’s such a far reaching mission and anyone can be a Waterway Warrior,” Fitzgerald addeddis . “Whether you come to a group clean-up or sponsor us, or just every time you see trash in your neighborhood, pick it up. And don’t contribute to the problem. When you are out enjoying the intracoastal, take your garbage home with you. It’s not a hard thing to do and it has such a positive impact.”

Learn More

Facebook: /PinedaWaterwayWarriors

April Clean-ups: 
Saturday April 13, 8-10 a.m.
Saturday, April 27, 8-10 a.m. 

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