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Why are we doing a Trash Data Study?

Why should we care?


Trash is more than ugly - it kills. The presence of non-biodegradable debris in the water is a documented hazard to marine life and humans alike. In addition to threats to animals and local economies, marine-borne plastics pose a threat to the human food chain due to the transfer of toxins from microplastics ingested by all types of marine creatures.

What's this got to do with the Reservoir?


The Reservoir's users and the State of Vermont generally agree that trash and debris is a problem in all areas of the lake to at least some degree. But anecdotal observations alone are not a strong basis for VT Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation to craft appropriate and effective short-and long-term management strategies on and around the Reservoir. The data from this trash study will help answer:


  • What is the actual quantity of trash found around the lake? Is the problem more or less serious than we think?

  • Is the Reservoir's water quality being affected? Is wildlife impacted?

  • Where is that trash most often found? How and when did it get there?

  • Is the trash debris being re-distributed throughout the lake due to normal water currents or high storm and wind events?

  • Are there other factors that influence the arrival, distribution, and re-distribution of trash around the Reservoir?

How does it work?


Trash Data Cards and Clean-Up Zone maps are available HERE or printed copy is available at the Little River State Park and Waterbury Center Day Use (during the park season), and at the parking areas located at Waterbury Dam, Blush Hill, and Moscow's Cottonbrook canoe access.


Volunteers pick up trash any time, and as often as you wish. Record what you find using the data card. Take the trash away with you, or leave it at one of the State Parks (check in with the Ranger first) during the operating season. Follow the instructions on the data card for submitting your data.


Rapid Response Teams will be deployed, under the direction of a team leader, immediately following a high-wind or severe storm event. The RTT's will go to specific locations to pick up and record the trash that's found.


Special clean-up events will be scheduled, starting with Green-Up Day (first Saturday in May).

What is Rozalia Project?


Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean's mission is to find and remove marine debris, from the surface to the sea floor, through action, technology outreach, and research. Rozalia Project is unique and action based - taking trash out of the water, rather than just pointing at it, and operating nationwide from docks and shorelines and throughout New England. We are committed to accurate data collection and working with stakeholders to clean up and forward solutions to the problem of marine debris.


Rozalia Project also works extensively in our home state of Vermont. Projects in Vermont have included: a Lake Champlain microdebris Sediment Study. and post-Irene cleanup.


In addition, Rozalia Project is the state

coordinator for the International Coastal Cleanup,

ensuring that Vermont is represented in

this worldwide effort.


To learn more, visit



New in 2015!


The American Canoe Association has awarded the Friends of Waterbury Reservoir a $700 grant funded through the L.L. Bean Club-Fostered Stewardship program to support this trash data study. The grant will help cover the costs of materials, supplies, stewardship promotion, and on-sight signing.

The Power of Partnership


Friends of Waterbury Reservoir sponsor this project and is committed to collection and analysis of the data.


Rozalia Project for a Clean Ocean is providing technical assistance, plus the time and expertise of a UNH college intern for the summer of 2014.


Vermont State Parks has agreed to accept trash bags at the Waterbury Center Day Use and Little River State Park. (Check in with the Ranger first.)


Volunteers can participate any time, and as often as desired, from  May - October. For instructions and downloadable Data Cards and Clean-Up Zone maps, click here.

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