Nestled in the heart of New Jersey lies a natural gem, the Round Valley Reservoir. This sprawling water haven spans approximately 2000 acres, with a maximum depth of 180 feet. For adventure seekers, outdoor enthusiasts, and nature lovers, Round Valley is nothing short of a paradise, offering hiking, camping, boating, fishing, and, of course, the exhilarating experiences of scuba diving and snorkeling.
The annual clean-up event in 2023 marked the fourth year of this amazing initiative. Hosted by the passionate folks at Scuba Connection and generously sponsored by ADR NJ Services, this event has grown in both size and significance since its inception. It’s a testament to the power of community, conservation, and the determination to protect the environment that is enjoyed by so many.
When this initiative began in 2019, it gathered a modest group of 27 volunteers, with 15 skilled divers among them. Fast forward to 2023, and the numbers have swelled impressively. This year, an astonishing 55 dedicated volunteers rallied to the cause, with an impressive 42 of them being experienced divers. These individuals came from all corners of New Jersey, New York, and even Delaware, united by their love for Round Valley and their commitment to preserving it for future generations.
So what motivates these volunteers to dedicate their time and effort to this event? The answer lies beneath the surface of Round Valley. Despite the park’s ‘carry-in, carry-out’ program, litter still finds its way into the reservoir, creating a need for these periodic clean-ups. These unsightly remnants of human activity not only stain the natural beauty but also pose threats to aquatic life and the ecosystems within Round Valley.
This year, the dedicated team of volunteers retrieved nearly 400 pounds of debris from the depths of Round Valley. Their haul included bottles, cans, discarded fishing equipment, miscellaneous plastic containers and wrappers, camping gear, and even boat motors. While some may see this as a modest achievement compared to previous years, it’s actually a reason to rejoice.
The decreasing volume of debris collected during this annual event is a resounding victory. It serves as an unmistakable sign that the tireless efforts of dedicated volunteers over the years, along with the continued commitment of divers who frequent the park regularly, are having a tangible impact. The reservoir is getting cleaner, thanks to the unwavering dedication of those who love and respect for its contributions to the surrounding community.
The park’s superintendent and staff were not only appreciative but also elated at the results of the 2023 clean-up. Their gratitude knows no bounds, and they have extended a warm invitation for the volunteers to return until Round Valley Reservoir shines in its pristine glory. The Scuba Connection Dive Team, proudly supporting the cause of the Water and Aquatic Volunteerism (WAV) initiative, is more determined than ever to continue its vital mission.
As we reflect on the success of the 2023 Round Valley Reservoir Clean-Up, we are reminded of the immense power of community action in the face of environmental challenges. With each dive, each piece of debris collected, and each gallon of watermade cleaner, we inch closer to a sustainable and beautiful future for Round Valley and beyond. NAUI is proud to see our members making a difference and excited for events that allow us to make a difference. The annual clean-up is not just an event; it’s a testament to the enduring spirit of conservation, a celebration of our connection with nature, and a promise that we will always dive deep to protect what we hold dear.