Founded in 1998, Living Lands & Waters (livinglandsandwaters.org) has grown to become the only industrial-scale river cleanup organization in the world. Based in Illinois, the crew of LL&W spends up to nine months each year living on a fleet of barges, towboats, workboats, and trucks while conducting dozens of river cleanup projects with the help of local volunteers. In 2012, they relieved American riverbeds of some 84,000 bags of garbage, 68,000 tires, 1,300 propane tanks, and 950 refrigerators, along with portable toilets, lawn mowers, couches, TVs, and cars. Besides its cleanup and education efforts, LL&W revitalizes watersheds by planting nut- and fruit-bearing trees alongside rivers, providing food for wildlife, shade for fish and river plants, and protection from erosion and pollution runoff.
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