2019 Annual Spring Trash Cleanup


We had to cancel our Annual Fall Trash Cleanup. Hurricanes Florence and Michael raised havoc. These were followed in November by yet another tropical storm. In total, over 20 inches of rain fell last Fall, raising the lake level three times and never a chance to return to normal. We were braced for a huge trash cleanup of the shoreline that always accompanies flooding but our volunteers were stymied. It was either impossible or dangerous to access the shoreline due to extremely high water levels as the graph shows ( note: 216 ft above sea level is the NORMAL level).


We’re ready again to tackle a huge load of trash.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will assist us.

We’re getting so gun-shy about rain that we’ve set a RAIN DATE of Saturday, March 30th, just in case! But please only RSVP for March 23rd event.


The location is the N.C. Wildlife Resoures Commission Game Land Access reached by short gravel road off the end of Seaforth Rd. , Pittsboro. Here is map link: https://drive.google.com/open?id=12tLqU6hJFSYasvF74LgnLeMSLgE6vVi9&usp=sharing .

For car GPS, enter coordinates: 35.705, -79.076



WALKERS: Divide into several groups at registration.

BOATERS: Boaters are needed to ferry some of the volunteers to the far end of the cleanup route and help to haul trash back to the dumpster at the Corps Bulkhead. Boaters only wishing to ferry volunteers are welcome.

We’re loaning 2-way radios to boaters for communication.

KAYAKERS: Come to Registration Table at 8:45am to receive assignments from CJL leaders.


All participants must sign a liability waiver form and bring to the registration table.

Below is link to Liability Waiver Forms Liability forms for Adults and Minors (for age of 11 to 18): https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wu2dvwrknt870wv/AABakOsoeaW7b8HurPE-J-Aaa?dl=0

IMPORTANT: Participation by minors requires signature of guardian or parent and minors under the age of 16 MUST be accompanied by an adult.


Due to potential hazards associated with bagging and moving trash, we are not able to allow children under the age of 11 to participate. Children over the age of 11 and under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult.


• Port-A-Toilets at Registration Area
• Shoreline Track Captains to lead volunteers
• Bags, gloves, trash grabbers, first-aid kits, large on-site water containers
• Pontoon boat and operator courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
• Coffee & biscuits to start the morning


We continue our tradition of offering a Trash Treasure Hunt. Items marked by “CJL TTH” are shown to track captain who will issue a CJL business card redeemable for merchandise prize at registration table.


Photos taken by volunteers posted with hash tag #cleanjordanlake will be entered into random draw for merchandise prize. *Only photos submitted from public accounts are eligible.


All volunteers must wear closed-toe shoes and put on work gloves (we provide these or bring your own favorites)

We strongly recommend to wear long pants, long-sleeve shirt and hat

What Our Volunteers Have Accomplished:
Since 2009, 400 cleanup events have attracted 6,500 volunteers to our cause. By far, the largest turnouts are for our Fall and Spring cleanups that are open to the general public.

Beauty and wildlife habitats have been restored along 20 miles of the worst impacted shoreline. About 15,000 bags of trash (roughly 150 tons!) have been removed. Many other objects are too large to fit into trash bags such as basketballs, propane gas tanks, hot water heaters, car parts, pesticide sprayers, gasoline cans, and pails of industrial adhesives. In addition, volunteers have rolled 4,600 tires, many still on rims, to boats and off again at boat ramps to stack for pick up by Bridgestone Americas Tires 4Ward Program.


Volunteers Stymied by Stormy Weather in 2018

Hurricanes Florence and Michael raised havoc.  These two major events were followed in November by yet another tropical storm. Unprecedented flooding caused massive destruction and loss of lives.  We were braced at Jordan Lake for a huge trash cleanup of the shoreline that always accompanies flooding.  But our volunteers were stymied because it was either impossible or dangerous to access the shoreline for almost the entire Fall due to extremely high water levels.

The cumulative precipitation graph for a measuring station near the lake shows 55 inches rain fell in 2018 whereas the average is about 42 inches. Even more rain fell in other parts of the watershed. For instance, Greensboro had 64 inches.


The result of rain over the 1,700 square miles of watershed was surprisingly not a record breaking rise in lake level. That said, the graph shows the lake reached 16 ft above normal!  What appears unprecedented is the sustained period of high level due to three major storms from September to December, with only a brief respite in late October/early November.

The bar graph shows that due to stormy weather, the number of cleanup events declined from 70 in 2017 to 55 in 2018 as did the number of volunteers, bags of trash removed and tires removed. High lake level forced us to cancel our Annual Fall Trash Cleanup and a couple of corporate community service days.  Most of the groups in our Adopt-A-Shoreline (AASP) and Adopt-A-Feeder Stream (AAFSP) Programs were asked to suspend their plans for cleanups throughout the Fall.

Despite postponements, there were still 55 trash cleanups in the AASP and AAFSP in 2018.  As the bar graph below shows, these represent a large contribution to our overall volunteer efforts.  There are now 21 groups in the AASP and 3 in the AAFSP assigned mainly to  shoreline sections heavily used for recreation.  Their multiple cleanups each year are not only keeping these access points clean but hopefully sending a message to users about the importance of stewardship!



140 bags of trash and 7 tires snagged by Sensus, a xylem brand

Sensus a xylem brand (https://sensus.com/) brought 50 employees to Jordan Lake on Monday, Oct. 29th for a great morning of community service! After many weeks the lake level had thankfully receded to just 3 ft above normal. The volunteers were able to reach the shoreline safely and remove most of the trash brought by Hurricanes Florence and Michael.




The assigned area was a series of coves along a 3/4-mile stretch of Kirks Creek bordering Jordan Dam Rd. The Army Corps of Engineers brought out their pontoon boat and, with the help of volunteers, hauled 140 bags of trash and 7 tires back to their bulkhead where we have a dumpster for trash and storage of tires for later recycling.

These volunteers faced a huge mess. But when they finished, natural beauty was restored along the Corps’ Red Trail that incidentally offers a nice hike with lake views for visitors- see https://www.hikingproject.com/trail/7043491/poes-ridge-trail .

After a couple of hours of hard work, Sensus employees enjoyed a lunch at the Visitor Assistance Center of the Army Corps of Engineers and a great vista of peaceful Jordan Lake.

Adopt-A-Shoreline and Feeder Stream Programs Grow

In Spring 2018, three groups joined our Adopt-A-Shoreline Program (AASP) and one joined our Adopt-A-Feeder Stream Program(AAFSP). This brings the totals to 21 in the AASP  and three in the AAFSP.  The map at our Volunteer Page shows all the locations.

Dragonfly Pond Works brought 10 agile, enthusiastic volunteers for their first AASP cleanup. Their section is a stretch of Farrington Pt. Rd. from the entrance to the NC WRC Boat Ramps to the north end of the bridge and down the steep rip rap rocks below it.

In just 2 hours, they removed 25 bags of trash AND astoundingly, 50 propane canisters from below the bridge.

Unfortunately, these canisters are from night fishermen who attach lanterns to them. We’ve now recovered 300 from this same spot and that includes a broken lantern as evidence for their purpose.

Highfill Infrastructure Engineering, led by Allison Andrews, brought 7 volunteers to White Oak Creek where it passes under Rt. 751.  This is the third in our AAFSP, the other two being Little Creek behind Meadowmont and Beaver Creek along the Apex Greenway.

Highfill Infrastructure Engineering cleaned on both the SE and SW sides of the Creek as well as a huge mess left by folks using the road turnout as a dumping ground.

HIghfill Infrastructure Engineering volunteers off Rt. 751 at White Oak Creek

The results were astounding: 17 bags of trash removed not counting about 5 bags-worth of soggy, muddy, cardboard most likely from a business of some type and three tires.

The group was rewarded for their efforts by seeing osprey and eagle nests on the far side of the Creek!

White Oak Creek just East of Rt. 751 bridge

RES.us, a company doing wetlands restoration projects, completed its first AASP cleanups at two sites.

17 volunteers were divided between the Red Trail of New Hope Overlook Access and the Ebenezer Church Boat Ramps area, both within Jordan Lake State Park . They removed 25 bags of trash including 32 propane canisters from the rocks under the bridge on Beaver Creek Rd. !

Fishermen attach lanterns for night fishing and just leave the empty canisters. The volunteer effort to remove them, climbing over rocks and hauling the bags up to the road, is worthy of special recognition. This nagging problem has no easy solution.

RES.us volunteers at Ebenezer Church Boat Ramps before splitting into two groups, the other going to Red Trail at New Hope Overlook






NHO Red Trail leads to this cove near Camping Area A.









RES.us volunteers at Red Trail near Camping Area of NHO.


2018 Annual Spring Trash Cleanup A Great Success

About 80 volunteers showed up at the Visitor Assistance Center of the Army Corps of Engineers on Jordan Dam Rd. for our Annual Spring Trash Cleanup on Saturday, March 24th despite threatening weather. We served Rise biscuits courtesy of Van Murray, our new President (see photo of him) and Larry’s Beans donated lots of hot coffee to start the day.

Van Murray, new CJL President hard at work

Cross Winds Boating Center donated use of two pontoon boats. The Army Corps of Engineers operated another and volunteers brought the fourth as well as a skiff. Volunteers were ferried over to Wilderness Island. Over 1.5 miles of shoreline were restored to natural beauty.

After 2 hours of hard work, 200 bags of trash were brought back to the Army Corps of Engineers Bulkhead. We entirely filled a Chatham County dumpster and added 120 tires to the stack of 150 tires from previous cleanups ready to be recycled through a grant from Bridgestone Americas.

Thanks go to staff from the Army Corps of Engineers at the unloading area, Ann D., Eddy D. and Jan S. at the Registration Table, David F., Daphne V., David P. and Carl F. as Track Captains and Jim H., Matt D., Conn H., Jon B. and Dan B. as boat operators.


270 tires await pickup by Bridgestone America– Tires4ward Program

Three of our Trash Treasure Hunt items were found and redeemed for a weekend camping gear rental from Townsend & Bertram, T-shirt and hat from Mountain Khakis and $25 gift certificate from Great Outdoor Provision Company.

Among the weird items found were football shoulder pads, a rear quarter of a deer mannequin used for target practice, hypodermic needles and an enormous truck tire on its rim.


Volunteerism Way Up in Fall 2017

Since September, 375 volunteers have participated in 30 cleanups and have removed 680 bags of trash and 139 tires.  This is a large increase over the same period in 2016 when 253 volunteers removed 415 bags and 60 tires in 24 cleanups.

Volunteers came from diverse groups and locations in the Triangle.  Cleanups were done by 19 of the 21 groups in our Adopt-A-Shoreline and Adopt-A-Feeder Stream Programs. Two new groups, The Planeteers and Crusaders Cleaning Crew ,did their first. Our Annual Fall event open to the general public attracted 90 volunteers.

We hosted five community service projects by organizations. Activate Good’s Day of Remembrance on September 11 brought 50 middle school students from Franklin Academy in Wake Forest along with teachers.  This group tackled shoreline on the New Hope River channel that gets trash carried by the Haw River.

Department heads from Chatham County government chose us for their annual retreat spending their time together to do a cleanup and to get aboard a pontoon boat for an interpretative nature tour of the lake.

GlaxoSmithKline chose us for the eighth year of Orange Day, a corporate-wide activity to assist  local nonprofits. 

We challenged 50 rugged UNC ROTC cadets with removing trash from steeply sloping rocks (rip rap) that lead down to the lake on either side of the bridge over Beaver Creek.

Our partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which started with providing logistical support for our semi-annual cleanups, has grown. Now the Corps  assists us throughout the year as needed and the staff has joined our Adopt-A-Shoreline Program to care for a site near their headquarters. 


An energetic group of 12 Troop 951 Boy Scouts came from the northern part of Chatham County with three adults. They cleared the last of trash along the innermost reach of a cove on Wilderness Island, at least until the next rains brings more!



Clean Jordan Lake Receives $500 from Morgan Stanley Foundation

Norris Cotton

We’re very pleased to have received $500 from the Volunteer Incentive Program offered by the Morgan Stanley Foundation. This program acknowledges nonprofit in which Morgan Stanley employees participate. So we are indebted to Norris Cotton who has been a member of our Board of Directors since 2014. Norris has not only offered us sage advice, just like he would to any client of his Durham business, but has also led many cleanup volunteer groups. Thank you, Norris!

Kids learn about trash at Annual Fishing Fiesta

The second annual Fishing Fiesta sponsored by NC Wildlife Resources Commission and NC State Parks was a grand success on Sat. Kids visited stations set up at Jordan Lake’s White Oak Recreation Area where various organizations talked about water safety, species of fish and birds, careers in nature, knot tying, casting, cooking fish, protecting our water and land, and much more. Fishing rods were loaned out and instructors gave tips on how to fish.

IMG_20170408_105224497_HDRThe kids received a stamp on their Fiesta Quest sheet at each station . Those getting a stamp from all stations received a free tackle box.

Business was steady at our station where we explained the trash problem and the great work of our volunteers.

IMG_20170408_131705759Though not needed for a stamp, about 20 kids and some parents went on the Trash Treasure Hunt with us, walking to a nearby section of shoreline. The lucky kid who found the spray bottle bottle marked as the Treasure won a full-day rental of a kayak or canoe donated by Frog Hollow Outdoors.

IMG_20170408_133159281_HDRSeveral bags were filled in 15 minutes before return to Chatham County’s Solid Waste & Recycling station where the trash was spread out on a tarp and kids learned what to recycle.

The day ended with award of many great raffle items and enjoyable Latino music donated by the Flor Y Canto band.

Volunteers in Annual Spring Trash Cleanup restore 2 mi. of shoreline

The arrival of a beautiful morning on March 25th was a great relief to us!  We had to cancel our Fall Trash Cleanup because of Hurricane Matthew.  And the arrival of 150 energetic volunteers was just as beautiful! We thank especially our wonderful boaters who buzzed around the lake ferrying volunteers and hauling trash, recyclables and tires to the Corps of Engineers headquarters for drop off .

Revised Boat Landing Sites

Volunteers divide up to tackle 6 Tracks

About 2 miles of shoreline were restored to pristine condition. This section had never before been targeted because of the complex logistics. Volunteers had to first drive to a remote Jordan State Park service road, walk down a steep hill to a tiny cove and load onto boats.

Three of the five Trash Treasure Hunt items were found and redeemed for great prizes from REI, Great Outdoor Provision Company and the Pittsboro Roadhouse.

volunteers waiting for ferry

Volunteers waiting for ferry to trash sites

Jon Bannerman of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works closely with us throughout the year in our official partnership with the Corps. He was one our pontoon boat operators for this event and also a great help in making our experiment with Chatham County’s new single stream recycling program a success.

Some of our volunteers were assigned to collect recyclables by turning their orange DOT bags inside out to reveal the blue side. The blue bags were brought back to the Corps dock by our boats along with trash bags and tires. Corps staff and volunteers emptied each bag into a special recycle container provided by Chatham County.

ferry of volunteers

3 pontoon boats and several skiffs transport volunteers & haul trash

Our volunteers removed 153 bags of trash, 30 bags of recyclables and 52 tires in 2 hours. We hope to continue the recyclable program in future events. Thanks to everyone involved!

2016 Ends Optimistically

img_20161022_122212719_hdrAs the year ends, here are few recent highlights. We received $1,000 from Cary MacGregor and Apex Sunrise Rotary Clubs to spend on much needed supplies such as lots of new gloves, trash grabbers and attractive signs and banners. These two groups saw the value in our work when they volunteered in October for a trash cleanup.

We’re reaching out to youth not just to help remove trash but to raise public awareness among the next generation.




2016-10-16_waco_jordan_cleanup This Fall we hosted a wonderful group of 22 YMCA Y Guides from the Waco Tribe. These are Dads bringing their young daughters or sons to the lake to pick up trash .



dec-2016In mid-December, 13 students from the AP Environmental Science class taught by Carl Rush at Green Hope High tackled a huge load of trash on Wilderness Island brought by Hurricane Matthew. On a very chilly morning, they removed 37 bags of trash and 4 tires.

The Marine Conservation Club at Enloe High will join our Adopt-A-Shoreline Program in 2017. They will be co-assignmed to the WRC Fishing Access at Bells Church, a chronic, badly littered area.  The residents and staff at Galloway Ridge is another new group that will share this site assignment.

The Sudduth Family will take over adoption of the the westerly set of boat ramps at WRC Farrington Point Access.

Hurricane Matthew forced us to cancel our big Annual Fall Trash Cleanup in October for which 150 volunteers were expected. But even without them, we had 756, 75 more than 2015. Our biggest turnout with no rainouts was 910 in 2013.

The yearly number of tires removed has sharply declined since 2013. This is because of our hard work in catching up with the legacy of tires accumulated since 1982 when the lake was filled. However, tires still do continue to arrive from the watershed with each big rainfall event.

The sites in our Adopt-A-Shoreline and Adopt-A-Feeder Stream Programs have grown to 20 with two just being added.

To date, nearly 4,900 volunteers have participated in 270 cleanup events. They’ve removed 12,189 bags of trash and 3,949 tires.

Thanks to all for another great year of volunteering!