Partnership was the running theme at the Red Clay Valley Association's annual meeting, held last Wednesday in Hockessin, Del.In his annual report, Board President Harry Alberts spoke about the successful partnerships the association has been involved with in the past year, including the highly successful 20th annual Red Clay Cleanup where 700 volunteers collected 16.6 tons of trash.

"We are seeing less trash accumulating, which is exactly the result we would hope for," Alberts said.

Numerous organizations contributed to the cleanup, including the Delaware Nature Society, the Wilmington & Western Railroad and the NVF Co., among many others.

"Your support of the cleanup has been a significant contribution to the improvement of the Valley," Alberts said.

Alberts said that in 2007, the association also began work on fund development designed to help support a growing number of programs.

He added that in the past year, in addition to funding for the Red Clay Trail, the foundation has received nearly $50,000 in funding for new programs.

"This is a new focus for RCVA and is part of our long range plan," Alberts said. "By improving our ability at fundraising, RCVA can be more effective in meeting our mission."

The program Alberts mentioned is Red Streams Blue, a water quality and stream restoration program started several years ago by its sister organization, the Brandywine Valley Association.

The Red Streams Blue program was originally designed to monitor the water quality of the Brandywine and its tributaries by observing taxia and sediment levels and then by developing a restoration program for the watershed.

The program will now be applied to the Red Clay and its tributaries in much the same fashion as the Brandywine program.

The program will be administered to separate from the BVA, adding the tagline, "Raising our Streams IQ" and the Red Clay logo to its marketing.

In a phone call the following day, Executive Director Bob Struble said that the program can be developed and adapted for any watershed in the region, including coming up with the restoration program that is the ultimate goal of Red Streams Blue.

"That process will be the same, and that would fit in with any watershed anywhere," Struble said.

Other business

The association also recognized Mike Riska, executive director of the Delaware Nature Society, as its Conservationist of the Year.

Riska has 35 years experience in resource management, land use preservation and environmental education. He also has a long-standing relationship with the Red Clay Valley Association both personally as well as through the nature society.

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