About Clean River Project

My name is Rocky Morrison and I am the founder of Clean River Project. For many years I have lived and boated on the Merrimack River with my family and friends.

In 2005 when the river was at one of its lowest points, I was not only amazed but disgusted at the trash visible within the banks and bushes of the Merrimack River. There were numerous items, such as car engines, household appliances, furniture, construction barrels, and over 1000 tires, to name a few.

Tired of seeing nothing being done about this problem, my wife and I decided to take action and get involved. We came up with the idea to have a scavenger hunt with our fellow boaters. An event that would be fun and interesting and at the same time help to get the river clean. Boaters who participated in the event were given the goal of retrieving as much debris and trash as possible. We used a point system for the various types of trash to be collected. Those with the most points were awarded prizes donated by local businesses. We also held a raffle for the remaining participants.

The first annual Merrimack River Scavenger Hunt was a huge success.

In the end, a grand total of 300 tires, two 30-yard dumpsters full of trash, furniture, car parts, appliances, and more were removed from the Merrimack River. Everyone who was there that day agreed that no one went home a loser. This has now become an annual event that not only has boaters involved, but the whole community as well.

In the summer of 2007 we organized a tire pullout day which turned out 584 tires from the river. Also that summer, a search of the river located 23 cars beneath the water that had been dumped illegally.

With the help of myself and other volunteers, these cars were removed from the water by the Massachusetts State Police as part of a training program.

Since the start of the Clean River Project in 2005, the Merrimack riverbanks have gone from being totally covered with debris to be the beautiful beaches they once were over 100 years ago. This website is a place to learn more about the Project, as well as how to become a part of of our environmental patrol.

Thank you,

Rocky

Board of Directors

Rocky Morrison

President & CEO

Rocky was born and raised on the Merrimack River. His front yard was the 110 highway and his backyard was the river. As a young child he would sit outside and see items floating by and try to guess what they were.

Rocky has always been called to the river. As a young boy he would canoe and see the debris build up in the brush. As a young man he would need to steer his boat clear of all the trash built up along the sandbars.

In 2005, he decided to gather his friends for a scavenger hunt. The goal was to collect as much trash from the river as you possibly could find and bring back to the shore. This small fun idea was the beginning of Clean River Project.

15 years later, there is not much Rocky has not seen along the river or pulled out. 86 cars, thousands of tires, TVs, branches, bikes, trash, car parts, and hypodermic needles; just to name a few.

Rocky’s passion and devotion to keeping the river clean can be felt by any conversation you exchange with him. His knowledge and unmatched tenacity lights a spark in others to come out and volunteer time and time again. His commitment to the Merrimack River is what makes Rocky an outstanding President and CEO.

Dennis Houlihan

Vice President

After 30 years as an HVAC Manager and technician, Dennis wanted to donate his time and skills during his retirement. He has been with Clean River Project for 15 years. He is one of our captains and handles the educational program for local schools, community groups, and service organizations. Through music for school aged children and presentations for adult members of the community, Dennis brings awareness about the pollution of the Merrimack River to the young and young at heart. His skill as a professional musician makes for a fun filled performance!

Dennis can also be seen narrating river tours up and down the Merrimack from May through October. Depending on the day, you might even be able to get him to sing a tune or two.

Dennis has been a board member for the past 15 years and is always bringing his ingenuity, spunk, and forward-thinking ideas to create more awareness to the community & surrounding towns about the mission of Clean River Project.

Red Jean Marion

Secretary

Red comes to us from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) and Joiners of America local 111 (now local 339). Even though Red is retired and volunteering at Clean River Project, he is still a member after 45 years at UBC!

Before becoming familiar with Clean River Project, Red had purchased property and moved to the river where he quickly discovered how polluted the river had become. To be quite honest… he was disgusted by it.

After speaking with neighbors and those he met along the river, he was contacted by Rocky who had heard of Red’s concerns about the condition of the Merrimack through friends and acquaintances. Rocky approached Red with the idea of a scavenger hunt and having residents try to collect as much trash as they could on a specific day. Red loved the idea and has been a volunteer at CRP ever since!

As a captain, Red helps move the CRP boats up and down the river to the locations needed on any given day. There is a lot of pollution and ground to cover which makes Red an asset to this fast paced occupation. He also assists with the boat maintenance and serves as the secretary on the Board of Directors.

Keith Gagnon

Treasurer

Keith brings to the table 30+ years of boating experience with a Boating Safety Certificate from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He knows not only how to drive all the boats at Clean River Project, but he also helped to come up with ideas on how to build the specific boats needed for the many types of jobs along the river. His boat experience mixed with his extensive knowledge as a Maintenance Mechanic/Electrician helper is a great advantage to CRP.

Keith became a volunteer with Clean River Project offering his spare time to help Rocky with the vessels and planning of events at its inception. He was asked to join the board due to his dedication to CRP which he happily accepted.

Most days you will find Keith on the Merrimack River driving a boat and helping to keep the river clean.

Mike Foote

Board Member

Mike became involved with Clean River Project about 15 years ago when he and his daughter bought a house on the Merrimack River. At the time, he was with the Salem, NH police department as a special police officer.

He would see Rocky along the river cleaning up trees, trash, and other floatables which began a conversation between the two of them. This is how Mike became involved with CRP. He started out as a volunteer helping in his spare time. Mike’s experience as a police officer brought the safety factors and legal guidance Rocky needed to grow CRP the amazing nonprofit it is today. Mike’s 22 years of commitment to community and helping residents was what sparked an interest in asking Mike to become a board member.

Mike has since retired from the Salem, NH police department and is a proud and valuable board member.

Become a Member!

Donate your time and services, while getting involved in our projects!

Because of the nature of the clean-up, Clean River Project appreciates all community help which could help offset the expenses of operating the boats, boat repair, disposal of the rubbish pulled in from the river, and any other extraneous expenses.

Yearly Membership:

$20 for Adults
$15 for Children 12 Years and Under

All Members are encouraged to come on a boat tour to see the work we do to keep the Merrimack river clean. For more information and details call Dennis at 978-973-7255.