Des Moines, Iowa:
On Saturday, the Polk Country Conservation Board hosted the 7th annual River Run Garbage Grab to clean up trash and debris along the Des Moines River south of the Saylorville Reservoir. Canoes, kayaks, and motorboats were launched along the river, by volunteers, to scour the banks and sandbars. Throughout the morning hours, boaters braved the beautiful weather and shining sun hoping to bring back the biggest piece of garbage.
Garbage sacks full of trash and canoes piled with everything from tires to rusty drums, were deposited safely into the hands of conservation board staff. Metro Waste Authority provided garbage bags and dumpsters for anything someone was willing to haul out of the river.
Tires appeared to be especially sought after, as one volunteer could be heard cheering for a canoe delivering a pile of metal, paper, and a dirty fat tire.
Though, it did not appear that anything was found as big as the engine block that was hauled out during 2007, the Des Moines River is definitely a cleaner waterway after the great work by Iowa residents.
The river was not the only thing that got a thorough cleaning. Those volunteers that chose to stay on land, walked along the shore and picked up garbage lying near walking and biking trails. Among the trash collected on land was a twin sized mattress, propane tanks, beer cans, and countless coils of fishing line and bait containers.
Many groups were represented at the River Run Garbage Grab ’08. Some of those in attendance were the Izaak Walton League of America, Des Moines Water Works and Central Iowa Anglers. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Unit, Flotilla 4 of Des Moines Iowa, provided safety and security services which included a patrol vessel and jet skis. Their professionalism was put to the test when a motorboat capsized and the occupants were helped from the water. This effort would not have been made possible without all of the support from the many Iowan sponsors and volunteers.
Later today, a special celebration is being hosted for all of the volunteers involved. Free food, music, and door prizes will be given away at the Simon Estes Amphitheater. The entertainment will be provided by the Des Moines Community Steel Drum Band, Plymouth Church Chancel Choir, and John Stravers and the Big Blue Sky Band.
As an Iowan and American, I would like to personally thank all those involved with this great community service project. Keeping our rivers and trails clean is a small project that every community can contribute to. By spreading the word, the next annual River Run Garbage Grab will be even bigger and more beneficial.
Thank you Iowa.
For more information about the River Run Garbage Grab, visit RiverStewards.org