Shoalhaven Riverwatch volunteers were excited to get their hands dirty for their annual clean up Australia Day event on Tuesday morning.
A crowd of volunteers turned out to clean up rubbish that floats down the river, and were assisted by Fulton Hogan employees, who were keen to support the local working bees for the second year as part of the Nowra bridge project.
The group were proud of the mound of rubbish pulled from the waters, which was a lot less than they've collected in previous years.
"Every year we get less and less," said the Riverwatch project manager, Peter Jirgens.
"Four years ago we pulled 23 shopping trolleys out of the river. This time I've got about six to seven shopping trolleys."
"I think people are becoming more aware that what they drop on the street goes into storm water, which goes into the river," said Riverwatch chairperson, Margie Jirgens.
As well as the cleanup around Pig Island, the crew planted 250 mangroves along the river.
Margie said the mangroves made an enormous difference stabilising the river banks.
"We plant a lot of mangroves, which hold the bank and help slow down erosion. They provide a habitat for native animals," she said.
The group collects seeds from mangroves to propoagate in a nursery at the Nowra Golf Club on the banks of the Shoalhaven River.
Riverwatch, who have been operating for 30 years, used to plant around 600 mangroves per year.
However, thanks to their work over the years, the volunteers have seen the area completely transform.
Riverwatch hold around five working bees per year, and work to stabilise the Shoalhaven River. To get involved, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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