(WTAJ) — Applications are open for a new program that will help address litter in and along Pennsylvania’s waterways while also helping officials collect valuable data on stream health.

With funding from the Department of Environmental Protection’s Coastal Resources Management, Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful announced its new Waterway Steward program to help gather valuable data to tell the story about litter in and along the Commonwealth’s waterways. It will also help engage water trail uses in community science and build long-term stewardship of water trails.

“Being a waterway steward is easy,” President of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful Shannon Reiter said. “Any time you are recreating in or near water, collect litter and stream health data. When you’re finished, dispose of the litter property and report your data to us.”

Reiter said participants can choose where they want to clean. It can even be a different waterway each time. What matters the most is fostering litter prevention and litter reduction.

It’s reported the Waterway Steward program is ideal for water trail users, anglers, outdoor and waterway enthusiasts and all those who care about the health, safety and quality of Pennsylvania`s waterways. To be a Waterway Steward, individuals must be at least 18 years of age. Stewards can conduct cleanups individually or organize their family and friends to join a cleanup.

“The impact you can have as a Waterway Steward are many,” Reiter said. “Keeping our waterways free from litter and debris helps preserve the beauty of Pennsylvania`s waterways, improves water quality, enhances the health and safety of our environment, people, animals, birds and fish and protects the natural resources that we depend on for recreation and tourism.”

Applications to be a Waterway Steward can be filled out and submitted online.

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Participants are encouraged to share their stories online. Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful will compile and share results to the larger community and use the data to further educate Pennsylvanians about the importance of keeping waterways clean.