Missouri River Relief is partnering with Fontenelle Forest to host a community based clean-up of trash along the river this Saturday. Individuals, families and groups are invited to take part and director Jeff Barrow is hoping that upwards of 250 people show up to help.
Barrow says all volunteers will go through a safety briefing before getting life jackets. They will then board boats at the Lake Manawa State Park boat ramps in Council Bluffs and head to a scouted area south of Omaha. Volunteers need to wear work clothing, rugged mud boots, long pants and bring sunscreen and bug spray. Volunteers will be supplied with a t-shirt, a water bottle, gloves and trash bags.
Barrow says no one has to work very hard and everyone contributes. He says at the end of the day they will have upwards of 10-tons of trash and the feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction is wonderful.
They are still finding items that were lost during the 2011 Missouri River flood. Barrow says, “There are big chunks of Styrofoam and plastic 55 gallon barrels that people used for docks. When I was scouting I found a complete boat trailer, including wheels and tires. It may have had a boat attached to it at some point. We find everything from toilets, full house boats, appliances like refrigerators. They float really well with all that insulation. We will probably find 100 tires. We also fined oil tanks that washed in, propane tanks. The main thing we find is bottles. We find thousands and thousands of plastic bottles.”
The clean-up is from 9 to noon, rain or shine. Those wanting to pre-register can do so by logging on to riverrelief.org.
Missouri River Relief organizes a shore clean-up once every two years. Barrow says more than 1,000 volunteers have taken part in this portion of the river clean-up since 2006. More than 20 tons of trash was cleaned from the river.