River Cleanups Scheduled for June through October

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Get involved in keeping Missouri’s two great rivers safe and beautiful.

Mississippi River Runs the Missouri BorderCOLUMBIA, Mo.-Missourians will have several chances to get their feet wet, their hands dirty and their senses full of grandeur at upcoming cleanup events on the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

Missouri River Relief and local sponsors already have held five river cleanups this year. Those events ranged as far from the group’s central-Missouri headquarters as Yankton, S.D., and as near as Hartsburg. Upcoming events will start in Iowa and end in Kansas City, with stops at St. Louis and Washington, Mo., in the interim.

The action starts at 9 a.m. June 7 at Sioux City, Iowa, where Missourians will join river lovers from Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota in removing trash from the Sioux City Riverfront. Sioux City is located where commercial navigation of the Missouri River begins. Workers will gather at boat ramps at the Scenic Park and at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources public ramp. Boats will ferry volunteers to the river banks to pick up trash that has washed up on shore. Missourians collecting trash that far upriver from their home state will have the satisfaction of knowing they won’t find it in their stretch of river after the next river rise.

Next on the schedule is a trash cleanup and river festival June 14 in Washington, Mo. The cleanup will last from 9 a.m. until noon. The festival will begin at 10:30 and continue through 4 p.m. in the Riverfront Pavilion. Educational exhibits, naturalist programs, river-safety information, live music, youth activities, food and a program by the World Bird Sanctuary are among attractions scheduled for the event in Washington Riverfront Park. The Riverfront Park boat ramp will be cleanup headquarters.

Cleanup participants should bring sunglasses, sunscreen, sturdy boots or shoes, long pants (preferred), a reusable water container and a willingness to get down and dirty. Work gloves, water, lunch and a boat ride on the Big Muddy are provided, along with a Missouri Stream Team T-shirt.

Missouri River Relief volunteer crews also will help other organizations across the state enlist volunteers and clean up rivers.

Cleanup crews will be in action in Southwest Missouri June 7 when the James River Basin Partnership and Ozark Mountain Paddlers hold their annual River Rescue on the James and Finely rivers near Springfield. For more info, check out their website: www.jrbp.missouristate.edu/river_rescue/river_clean_up.html. River Relief will also be participating in the 41st annual Operation Clean Stream in the Meremec River Basin. Check out the Open Space Council website for more info: www.openspacestl.org/operation-clean-stream/.

The fall clean-up schedule kicks off Sept. 12 and 13, when volunteers will clean up the Missouri-Mississippi river confluence at Columbia Bottom Conservation area. Just before the cleanup starts, hundreds of students from Hazelwood and other St. Louis area schools will attend a riverside education event.

The cleanup season will conclude Oct. 3 and 4 with a Missouri River Cleanup and Learning Festival at La Benite Park, in the southern Clay County community of Sugar Creek, Mo. Kansas City-area students will get to learn about the river in educational programs and help clean up the river.

More information about these events is available at www.riverrelief.org or by calling (573) 443-0292.

-Jim Low-