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Allegheny River Cleanup may turn from spring cleaning to summer

This year’s collective spring cleaning may turn into summer cleaning.

The 16th annual Allegheny Reservoir Cleanup was scheduled for May 9.

But, like so many other things, the cleanup has fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a Friday conference call, organizers discussed their options for moving forward… or not.

They decided to postpone, but not cancel the event.

“We are hoping to reschedule sometime later this summer,” U.S. Forest Service Allegheny National Forest Aquatic Ecologist Nate Welker said.

Even if all social distancing requirements and stay-at-home orders were dropped in time for the event, there is another major challenge.

Onoville Marina — the base of operations for the cleanup – is closed.

Welker said the Cattaraugus County, New York, Commissioners will meet May 13 and discuss possibly reopening dates.

The cleanup committee set up a follow-up meeting for May 15 to “reassess and hopefully reschedule based on the Onoville reopening.”

There are challenges to holding the event later in the year, but organizers don’t want to give up on it.

At a previous meeting, the committee expressed an interest in giving people who have been more or less shut in their houses for a month or more a way to get back out into the community and fresh air.

For the time being, the organizers are encouraging people who are interested to get out and get some recreation time by cleaning up on their own, following social distancing recommendations, and are working on some temporary alternatives to a full cleanup.

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