AGAWAM — The Westfield River Watershed Association has postponed its Agawam spring cleanup until Saturday, June 1, due to the Connecticut River’s high water levels.

The decision was made on April 17 by WRWA board member Sheryl Becker and cleanup Co-coordinator Nancy Bobskill. That day, the two visited Pynchon Point, the area that would’ve been cleaned, and saw the shoreline half covered, with the water almost reaching the picnic tables. The beach was almost completely covered.

“It’s frustrating,” Becker said. “We’re dealing with not much beach area … we want to get the beach area during our cleanup.”

The two decided the cleanup couldn’t happen unless the event were rescheduled.

“The last thing we want is, especially for kids, to have too many people and not enough area to clean,” Becker said.

While the water level may drop between now and the original date of April 27, Becker said the two wanted to play it safe. Plus, she said, postponing it now would allow volunteers to plan ahead. Volunteers give up their entire mornings for the cleanups, she said.

The whole ordeal has been frustrating for Becker. The WRWA, she said, has had to reschedule its Agawam spring cleanup more frequently than usual due to higher water levels, to the point that the organization has considered moving them to May or June permanently.

Becker said climate change has led to more rainstorms, heavier rainstorms and less snow. Even though this winter’s storms produced snow in northern New England, they still affect local rivers, she said.

“We’re low, so we end up getting all that melting snow and all the rainwater from all the other streams. They end up going into the Connecticut River,” she said. “The Connecticut River gets very, very high in the spring.”

Not helping is Agawam’s steep shoreline. The WRWA’s cleanup in Westfield usually doesn’t need rescheduling, she said, and will still happen this year from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 27. This is due to the wider shoreline in that city giving volunteers more area to clean, she said.

While the Agawam cleanup has been postponed to June 1, with a rain date of June 2, Becker said there is still a chance it might be postponed further into June if the water levels remain too high. She hopes there won’t be too much rain in the next six weeks. She also hopes there are more volunteers in June, which she thinks could happen since people won’t be busy with the Westfield cleanup.

Should the event be postponed again, the WRWA will update its website, westfieldriver.org, and Facebook event page, fb.me/e/4lVYxLVbi, as well as notify those on its email list.

In the meantime, Becker said people can go to Pynchon Point with trash bags and clean up on their own. She advises anyone doing that to wear gloves and be careful of biohazards, like needles. Cleanups along the Connecticut River can be organized using the guide from the Connecticut River Conservancy at ctriver.org/earth-day. The CRC will report biohazards to the state Department of Environmental Protection, said Becker. People can also organize cleanups by posting on the WRWA’s Facebook page, she said.

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