Volunteers from Iowa and Nebraska will spend tomorrow (Saturday) morning picking up trash along the Missouri River south of Omaha. Individuals, families and groups are invited to take part and Missouri River Relief director Jeff Barrow is hoping that upwards of 250 people show up. “You get several hundred people out on the river, everyone’s working but nobody has to work very hard, everyone’s putting in their two bits,” Barrow says. “Everyone can contribute, but at the end of the day, we’ll have seven to ten tons of trash and the feeling of satisfaction is just incredible.”
Barrow says once every two years they organize a big clean up of the river’s banks. “With all the flood debris, I expect we’ll get about ten tons of trash,” Barrow says. “There’s lots of old docks that got ripped out in the floods, big chunks of styrofoam, plastic 55-gallon barrels that people use for docks. When we were scouting, I actually found a complete boat trailer including wheels and tires.”
While the most common items found will be plastic pop bottles — by the thousands — there may be some heavy lifting involved. “Oh, it’s incredible what we find in the river,” Barrow says. “The range and the variety is unbelievable. We find everything from toilets to full-on boats, houseboats, lots of appliances, refrigerators float really well with their insulation. We’ll probably find a hundred tires.”
Volunteers should meet at the Lake Manawa State Park boat ramps by 8:30 Saturday morning. The clean-up is from 9 until noon. Volunteers are asked to dress appropriately and bring sunscreen and bug spray. Those wanting to pre-register can log on to riverrelief.org.