MECOSTA COUNTY- The Muskegon River Watershed is looking for volunteers to help with the annual Muskegon River Trash Bash. The event is an annual family-friendly cleanup that hopes to encourage residents and visitors of all ages to pitch in to protect the river, its tributaries, and the thousands of acres of land that surround it. "Who doesn't want clean water?" asked Scott Faulkner, executive director of the MRWA. "In 2021, as more and more people choose to re-engage and enjoy the great outdoors as a first choice, we see increasing numbers on and around the beautiful Muskegon River across the entire watershed. But the river needs our help." The watershed covers about 2,725 square miles, includes 94 connecting streams, and travels over 216 miles through nine counties from Higgins Lake to Lake Michigan in Muskegon. "We understand that it can be rather daunting considering the scale and scope of this incredible natural wonder, and a challenge to know where to start." said Marty Holtgren, principal watershed scientist for the MRWA. "Michiganders everywhere need to understand their opportunities for how they can start right next door, or even right outside their own window, in whatever ways they are attached to their watershed and the land that surrounds it." To have the largest impact across the watershed as possible, the MRWA is using the entire month of August for the Trash Bash, when water levels are at their annual low, and trash is easier to identify and safely remove. Volunteers will be able to complete their clean-up on any day in August, with each person or family assembling their own team, date and location. "A river clean-up makes a great family outing, reunion, or team building event and provides a perfect opportunity to get outside and affect real change. You can clean up an area while tubing your favorite section, hiking a new trail, fishing a secret spot, or taking a leisurely boat ride on a hot afternoon. You are the boss on picking the place and the time and date." Faulkner said. To avoid duplication of efforts, one team member must register on the MRWA Trash Bash website and complete their clean-up in August to be eligible for gifts and receive their certificate of achievement as a "Protector of the River." Register at mrwa.org\/trash bash-2021 beginning July 1. After registration, you will receive an email with further details, requiring participants to sign and return a digital liability waiver prior to participating in the cleanup. "The MRWA could never do this without the amazing support we have received from the small business community, large corporations and foundations, and our media partners," Faulkner said. To date, the water authority has received support from BlueTriton Brands, Inc., formerly Ice Mountain; the Consumers Energy Foundation; Jackson-Merkey Contractors; Cargill, Inc.; the DTE Energy Foundation; WBZX - B103.9; Lume Cannabis; Wisner's Rents Canoes; and Republic Services.