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Clean Ups


Groups are needed to either adopt a reach or do a one time cleanup of trails along the Red River.

After over 30 years of coordinating cleanups, we know, and our supporters know the importance of picking up trash. Trash in and near the Red River is not only unsightly, but it has environmental consequences that harm our drinking water, wildlife, and recreational use of the river and nearby trails. 

In order to participate, registration is required. Fill out our volunteer form at riverkeepers.org/volunteer and specify what you are interested in. Volunteers will work with staff to schedule a date and time and get an agreement form signed.

Project Partners: City of Moorhead, Southeast Cass Water Resource District, Fargo Park District, River Keepers

Groups adopt a reach of the river and agree to cleanup trash twice a year.

What is Adopt-the Red/Park?

  • Groups pick up trash and enjoy a reach of the Red River or a local park. With individual actions, through Adopt-a-River/Park programs, many rivers that were once blemished have again become valued local resources. Cleanup crews may consist of a few friends or a large network of volunteers.

Why Adopt-the-Red/Park?

  • The greatest threat to the Red River today is from non-point source pollution. Keeping the banks of the Red River litter-free is one way to reduce non-point source pollution. The Adopt-the-Red program stresses prevention of litter accumulation and rubbish removal by recruiting people to “adopt” reaches of the river.
  • Rubbish accumulation is one of the single greatest factors that degrades the recreational value of the rivers. Nearly 90% of the items collected during a river cleanup are nondegradeable trash such as metal and plastic, with many pieces containing rotting food and chemical residues.
  • Cleanups remove trash and litter while increasing community pride.
  • Cleanups educate participants about the values of watersheds for recreation, and fish and wildlife habitat.

Group Responsibilities

  • Conduct 2 cleanups each year, following the “Adopt-the-Red Procedures” as written.
  • Notify appropriate agency two weeks prior to the cleanup date.
  • Cover “Information for a Safe and Enjoyable Cleanup” before participating in cleanup.
  • Provide gloves and trash bags.
  • Notify appropriate agency of the location of objects to big to handle.
  • Notify appropriate agency of hazardous substances, such as car batteries or partially filled farm or garden chemical containers.

Moorhead Parks and Recreation/Fargo Park District Responsibilities

  • Provide removal of filled trash bags.
  • Provide removal of large, heavy, or hazardous items discovered by the group.
  • Provide information about the Adopt-the-Red program and the adopted reach.
  • Provide an information sheet on how to conduct a safe cleanup.

After the Cleanup

Contact River Keepers if you are interested in becoming involved with other river service projects such as:

  • Storm Drain Marking Program – Protecting the Red River by linking human actions to pollution problems.
  • Planting native vegetation.
  • On-the water cleanups.

After a cleanup, you gain satisfaction from a job well done!


In addition, we need help with Fargo Drain Cleanups: The drainage ditches in Fargo lead to the Red River. We need adult volunteers who can clean up around these drains. This will require getting close to the water in the ditch and using pickers to grab the trash which is mostly food and beverage containers and plastic. 

2024 Adopt the Red Info Packet

Cleanup Volunteer Training Video

Moorhead Cleanup Maps

Fargo Cleanup Maps

Project Partners: