Employees of the MillerCoors in Elkton clean up the Shenandoah River in Page County.
Dozens got down and dirty in the valley Friday cleaning up the Shenandoah River. It's part of a month-long effort by MillerCoors to protect one of our most precious resources.
Thousands of MillerCoors employees across the country volunteered on various sites. In years past, this watershed project has been done in Rockingham and Augusta Counties, and now in Page County as well. Friday, volunteers with the MillerCoors plant in Elkton teamed up with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries to clean up the river in Page.
The volunteers waded and canoed through water, and scoured the perimeter of the river - all in an effort to protect the environment.
"Water is our business, it's a major ingredient in our product, and every aspect of our business, water impacts," said Jeff Rinker, an environmental engineer for MillerCoors.
Since MillerCoors made sustainability a mission it has reduced its water-to-beer ratio significantly, and taken on projects like this. But it's not just good for business; Rinker points out the river's draw to visitors.
"The river is enjoyed by many people, not necessarily here in the Shenandoah Valley, but a lot of people come in from outside the community," Rinker said.
So for the fifth year, teams hit the water, took out the trash, and then sorted through to recycle. One canoe capsized several times during the several-mile trek but didn't come up empty-handed. Others stayed dry, constructing a 60-foot ramp at Newport Landing.
"It reduces runoff. This is a bad place for runoff with the parking lot here and the way the ramp is formed, a lot of rainwater will come down the ramp, so hopefully this will alleviate a lot of the runoff into the river," said zone maintenance supervisor Brad Mawyer.
The company won the gold in the Governor's Environmental Excellence Awards earlier this year for its sustainability program.