River of needles: Group seeks support as number of syringes in the Merrimack River soars

Just a few years ago the junk that Clean River Project volunteers pulled out of the Merrimack River between Lowell and Haverhill consisted mostly of tires, shopping carts, toys, appliances, furniture and even entire vehicles. Every so often, they would come upon a syringe or two, which they would place into sharps containers for proper disposal. Rocky Morrison, president of the nonprofit Clean River Project, said he didn’t give it much thought until last year, when his volunteers saw a huge increase in the number of syringes they were finding. They collected more than 1,000 last year, and he said there are more out there. According to American Rivers, the Merrimack River is one of the three most important large rivers on the East Coast in its conservation value to migratory river herring and one of the six most important for 12 migratory fish species. Read the story here 19:25 (it’s disgusting.) Meanwhile  A federal judge has ordered the National Marine Fisheries Service to revisit a decision not to list the blueback herring as a threatened species. Read the story here 19:42