Reviving Our Rivers: Presence Partners with Living Lands and Waters

Who would have thought that 26 years ago, one man’s mission to clean up his childhood river would result in the removal of over 13 million pounds of debris from America’s rivers? This remarkable journey has led to the establishment of the only “industrial strength” river cleanup organization of its kind in the world Living Lands and Waters (LL&W). The dedicated team members of this incredible environmental organization devote up to nine months out of the year to traveling through some of our most polluted rivers. Their mission is to bring back vitality and restoration to the banks of these river communities.

In 2019, PRESENCE collaborated with In Good Company to support a week-long Ohio River cleanup effort alongside the Living Lands and Water (LL&W) crew. For five days, our team of 11 volunteers lived communally, each with assigned chores that fostered teamwork and synergy from the start. Every morning, we traveled in mini-vans to meet the LL&W crew, then boarded two 30-foot custom-made fishing boats to scour the riverbanks for “honey pots” (areas heavily covered in trash and debris). The days were challenging, muddy, and sweaty, but extremely rewarding and eye-opening.

Our collective efforts over the five days resulted in the removal of an impressive amount of debris: 37,695.25 lbs of total garbage, with 11,837 lbs removed by excavator and 25,859.25 lbs removed by hand. In total, we helped remove 115,684.25 lbs of trash and debris from the Ohio River.

In recognition of LL&W’s vital work, PRESENCE proudly nominated the organization as our PRESENCE Gives Back Philanthropic Project for the year 2023. Through this initiative, we aimed to support LL&W’s efforts and contribute to their mission of safeguarding our precious waterways and the ecosystems they sustain.

Through the 2023 Philanthropic Project, PRESENCE’s team members made an impressive 178 donations, totaling $21,415 in funds raised for Living Lands and Waters (LL&W). These charitable contributions enabled LL&W to acquire two Kevlar Langley Boats + Trailer, NRS PTC Canoe/Raft Paddles, and Werner Bandit Canoe Guide Sticks.

This significant contribution will aid LL&W in their continued mission to:

  1. Protect, Preserve, and Restore Rivers and Watersheds

LL&W works tirelessly to aid in the protection, preservation, and restoration of the natural environments surrounding our nation’s major rivers and their watersheds.

  1. Raise Environmental Awareness

The organization strives to expand awareness of environmental issues and responsibilities related to our rivers, fostering a sense of stewardship among communities.

  1. Encourage Active Citizen Participation

LL&W creates opportunities for citizens to take an active role in helping to create a cleaner river environment, empowering individuals to make a positive impact.

You can support LL&W efforts by sharing information about LLW’s mission and the importance of protecting our rivers and watersheds with your friends, family, and community. Raising awareness can inspire others to get involved and support their efforts.

By supporting LLW, you can play a vital role in safeguarding our precious waterways, promoting environmental stewardship, and creating a cleaner, healthier environment for future generations.

LLW offers various volunteer opportunities, such as participating in river cleanups, educational programs, and community events. You can contribute your time and effort to their cause. To learn more here Living Lands & Waters Mission and History (livinglandsandwaters.org).