(a) The Adopt-A-Highway Program was established in the late 1980s to improve the quality of the state’s environment by encouraging public involvement in the elimination of highway litter. That program is cosponsored by the Division of Highways and the Department of Environmental Protection, Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan. Its objective is to save taxpayer money by increasing public awareness and to serve as an educational tool by focusing on the consequences of littering. The program offers volunteers the opportunity to take charge of their own environment by making a positive effort to create a cleaner, more aesthetic place in which to live.
In West Virginia there are currently 25,000 volunteers who regularly pick up litter on 4,000 miles of highway. They have been responsible for removing more than 40 million pounds of litter since the program began.
(b) As with the Adopt-A-Highway Program, individuals, families, churches, businesses, schools, civic organizations, government agencies, scouting groups, fraternities, and communities may participate in an Adopt-A-Stream Program, which the department shall create and implement. Anyone who is at least 12 years old may participate. Any stream or river that is a part of the West Virginia Stream Partners Program is eligible for adoption, with the exception of streams or rivers considered unsafe. Volunteers may select a stream or river to adopt and then have it approved by the department, or they may ask the department to suggest an adoptable stream or river. Adopted streams must be at least one mile long. The Litter Control Fund may be used to support the Adopt-A-Stream Program.
(c) Adoptions are for a period of one year, during which time one cleanup is required per year. As volunteers pick up litter, bags that have been filled are placed on stream sides for removal and disposal by the program. Garbage bags, safety vests, safety training, traffic warning signs, and gloves are to be furnished by the program.
(d) Adopted streams may be identified by a sign at each end of the section bearing the Adopt-A-Stream logo and the name of the adopter. Volunteers who complete one required litter pickup within the one-year contract period shall be awarded a certificate of accomplishment signed by the secretary.
(e) The secretary may propose legislative rules pursuant to §29A-3-1 et seq. of this code.