Each year nearly 3,000 Adopt-A-Stream volunteers remove thirty tons of trash in streams throughout Charlotte and Mecklenburg County! While this may seem like a lot, we still need more help! There are approximately 3,000 miles of streams throughout Mecklenburg County and there’s always a lot of trash that ends up in streams after a storm. 

Rain washes trash from streets into the storm drainage system that leads directly to ponds, streams and lakes. Sometimes people dump trash directly into waterways on purpose. Trash makes our streams and lakes look terrible and harms aquatic habitat. Chemicals that may be in the trash can also degrade water quality.

To participate in the Adopt-A-Stream program, volunteers are required to clean up a stream segment twice a year for two years. We will supply all the materials you need and get the trash you’ve collected picked up. Once a group has cleaned their stream segment twice and sent us all data sheets, the group qualifies to have their name on an Adopt-A-Stream road sign! The information below can help you with the next steps for adopting a stream.

CMSWS staff can also provide a presentation to help a group learn more about stormwater, and the quality of local streams and lakes in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.

A group or individual can also choose to hold one or more cleanups at a stream without the commitment of an Adopt-A-Stream contract. CMSWS staff can help you coordinate this event and provide you with supplies. 

​If you are interested, please read through the information below.​

Steps to Participate in Adopt-A-Stream ​ 

1) Find a Stream Segment available for adoption.

2) Visit the Stream Segment.

Visit the stream to see if it has a trash problem, and make sure it is safe to access the stream segment. Check to make sure the banks are not too steep and the water isn’t too deep for your group.​

3) Email the Stream Code.

Once you’ve found a stream segment you want to adopt, email the stream segment code (found in red on the interactive map) to the contact listed on this page.

4) Sign the contract and waiver forms.

5) Reserve and pick up supplies

Reserve supplies early! Supplies include gloves, trash bags, hip waders and litter grabbers. There is a limited amount of waders and litter grabbers, especially in April, May, September and October.  Ten waders and ten litter grabbers is the maximum that can be reserved at once. Email the contact listed on this page to reserve supplies and arrange for pick-up. Supplies must be picked up at Mecklenburg County Offices at 2145 Suttle Ave. in Charlotte.

6) Be Safe

7) Send us your Data

Frequently Asked Questions​​

  • Group sizes of ​​15 volunteers or less are the best size for each segment.
  • Road signs with a group’s name are installed after a group has completed its second clean up and returned all data sheets. The name of the group on the contract will be the name placed on the sign. Websites and phone numbers are not allowed on these signs.
  • Waders run in whole number sizes (no half sizes) and are worn over socks, not shoes.
  • You do not have to commit to participate! We have many groups that hold one-time cleanups.

Questions? Contact:

Taylor Mebane

Mecklenburg County Environmental Specialist II

Volunteers in creek.

Thanks to our groups that have gone out recently!

In Memory of Phil Piscitelli
Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation
Charlotte Surfriders
Covenant Presbyterian
UNCC Trash Taggers
Greenbrier Clean Stream team
The British International School of Charlotte
Troop 323