Category Archives: Litter Pick-Up

Roubidoux Fly Fishers Cleanup

The Roubidoux Fly Fishers are Stream Team #1. As in, the first. As in, the founders. So this big celebration we’ve been having all year, for the 25th anniversary? It’s kind of like we’re celebrating the Roubidoux Fly Fishers at the same time.

Team leader Lou Runnals knows that, and she wanted to make this birthday special. So for the team’s cleanup, Lou got a cake. Not cookies. A cake. And it was delicious. And it was pretty. And it was a perfect way to end a long day out cleaning the river.

See, not only was Stream Team #1 there for their cleanup, but their friends in teams #3660, #27, #1523, #13, #3481, #4203 came to help. And the Navy Seabees? They were there too. In total, 71 volunteers turned out to clean up the Roubidoux.

They got a water heater. They got 17 tires. They got crawdad traps. But surprisingly, Lou says, they didn’t find all the trash they expected to wash in from a flood last year. It must have gone downstream to the Gasconade.

The Fly Fishers also got a lot of help from Saint Robert businesses. Lay-Z-Day Canoes loaned out a whole rack of canoes. Zeigenbein Sanitation donated dumpsters. A transfer station in Saint Robert accepted trash and Big O accepted tires without charging a penny, and Wal-Mart kicked in a donation toward food. Stream Team Program biologist (and Roubidoux Fly Fishers co-founder) Mark Van Patten got a grant that covered the rest of the event’s cost.

While this was the biggest community event our founding team hosted this year, they also help with other efforts, including a community service day with the local Brownies troop and attending other teams’ cleanups on rivers such as the Big Piney.

So Roubidoux Fly Fishers, for all your work in the last 25 years, we salute you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. May your waders never leak and you always have a tight line! Adieu.

Niangua River cleanup: 3 truckloads of trash, 80 businesses and 180 volunteers

The Niangua River cleanup has an inspiring backstory, and this year’s event near Bennett Spring State Park really followed through on nearly ten years of service. Organizer Carl Romesburg shared the community effort’s stats:

  • We had more than 180 registered volunteers, not counting the bus drivers, canoe loaders, cooks, food servers and of course the folks who work so hard to organize this event.
  • We had more than 80 businesses in Laclede, Dallas and Camden counties donate everything from food to prizes.
  • We have 6 outfitters who donate the buses, canoes and their time to support the cleanup:
  • We picked up about 3 huge truckloads of trash.

This picture only shows a small amount of the volunteers. Most were still out on the river.

River des Peres Trash Bash: how it feels to make a four-ton impact

photos by Gabe Cotton

It is about 9:30 am, on a 55 degree Saturday morning in mid-October, and I am up to my shoulders in Gravois Creek. I have a rope wrapped around a gloved hand, with a paddle in my other hand, pulling a recently submerged canoe, half filled with dumped tires. Welcome to the River des Peres Trash Bash!

– Gabe Cotton, “Stream Team Adventures: My Gravois Creek float trip at the Trash Bash! 10/18/2014” on Camping Missouri

Gabe Cotton was one of 350 volunteers who came to the River des Peres Trash Bash, and his awesome blog post about it details every step of the way. We’re thrilled to reprint part of his story here, and happily report that his estimated 40 tires added up to 92 total tires removed, and his bags of trash were part of more than 4.33 tons collected that day. Here’s Gabe’s story, in his own words:

“Walking next to a canoe in the slow moving creek, I was making my way through the water, looking for that unmistakable round silhouette. Reaching down to pull out a tire, then taking a few steps to discover another one. It is a process of popping it loose from the mud, scraping the lodged dirt out from inside it, and then dumping as much water out before setting the tire in the canoe to be taken, after it is filled, downstream to where a group of volunteers was waiting to help load them into a trailer. I had pulled out about 14 tires from a 50 foot stretch of Gravois Creek, decided that was enough for a load, hopped in the canoe and started paddling my way to the people on the bank that were going to do the hard part. It wasn’t 30 seconds on my way that I heard the sound of rushing water. Had I thought about it, I should have stayed out of the canoe, guiding it to our landing point…but I thought that it might be nice to ride my way there, take a minute to sit and be out of the filthy water, and pull in triumphantly with my bounty of rubber and tread. Yeah, one side of the canoe had dipped below the surface due to all the weight in it, and my boat was taking on water.

At that point there is nothing you can do to stop it. It will continue to fill, and I felt that if I could pull it submerged with the air trapped in the upright tires to keep them afloat within its gunwales, I could probably get them all to where I was heading with just a bit more effort than I was planning. And that’s when I hit the deep part.

2014-10-22 15.49.26So there I was, paddle in one hand, rope in the other, swimming through the mucky water of Gravois Creek while pulling a submerged canoe with a trail of floating tires behind me. I had bitten off more tires than I could chew, and learned an embarrassing yet valuable lesson about capacity and enthusiasm that I wasn’t going to forget. Luckily I had a more seasoned veteran than myself by the name of Jay in another canoe following behind me, grabbing all the tires that had escaped. I made it to shore, unloaded the four tires I had left, and then pulled the canoe out and dumped the water, so that I could head right back in to go collect more.

This was my Saturday morning float trip on Gravois Creek in South St. Louis County, and disgusting as it was, it was one of the most satisfying adventures I have had that involved a canoe.

All in all, I estimate that Jay and I pulled probably 40 tires out of about a tenth of a mile of Gravois Creek. And there are still so many tires left.

It is a perverse and irresponsible satisfaction, that exposes one to bacteria and chemicals that we should all stay away from. The hook that gets you is when you see that pile of tires you removed heading down the road in a trailer on their way to their proper resting place, and not in the creek anymore. It makes you really see and feel the impact you can have on the health of a natural place.”

Big thanks to Gabe for giving permission to repost this. Make sure to check out all his writings in his blog, Camping Missouri.

Hinkson Clean Sweep is this Saturday, October 11

Activities: Work with other volunteers from the City of Columbia to clean up area streams.
Date: Saturday, October 10, 2014
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Place: Various locations around Columbia

What to Expect: Basically the most rockin’ trash bash this side of the Missouri. Mike Heimos, the City of Columbia’s stormwater educator, has been running the show for at least ten years, but he goes so hard he doesn’t pause to count them. The first year he tried a city cleanup, 48 people showed up. Last year? 2,400.

They’re all marching under the banner of the Columbia Crawdads, a city-wide Stream Team that, Heimos says, “has such an amazing following. It just blows my mind.”

He’s not exaggerating. In addition to collecting more than a ton of trash each Clean Sweep, cleanup groups now hit Columbia streams 2-3 times each month. The Stormwater Education Facebook page has more than 1,300 fans, some of its YouTube videos have thousands of views, and its Instagram cranks out hundreds of photos of the faces and places the Heimos crew works to restore.

What to Do: Well, first and foremost, you have to register. Go do that now and come back to us. We’ll wait…

Ok, so you know where you’re going? You can start showing up there any time after 9:30 A.M. You’ll sign in your group, get your clean up supplies and receive instructions from the Stream Captains. Then you’ll pick up trash! You’ll make new friends! It’ll be great.

What to Bring:  Yourself and everyone in your group! All supplies will be provided for at your site – clean up bags, gloves, just about everything you will need. Just make sure you have your toes covered and you’re comfortable in the weather.

Where you can go from here: “The goal of the Clean Sweep is to let people know they can do cleanups in Columbia as a volunteer opportunity,” Heimos says. “What we’ve found is, we don’t need to do this anymore; Once volunteers come and do it, they realize they can continue throughout the year.” In the past two months, for instance, Heimos has arranged 16 cleanups, and he only had to meet with a quarter of them to get them started. The rest already knew the drill.

“In Columbia, the polluter is us,” Heimos says. “We’re a suburban/urban area, there’s no factory on the hill pumping out pollution. It’s us: motor oil, cigarette butts, pet waste, Shakespeare’s cups, Harpo’s cups, plastic spoons and straws.”

So now’s your chance to turn “people pollution” into “people solutions.” Go sweep the Hinkson clean, and let us know how it goes!

For more information: Peruse the “Clean Sweeper’s Rules.” or email volunteer@GoColumbiaMo.com.

25th-ST_Logo-Color-FinalThis is one of your last chances at Stream Team 25th Anniversary greatness. So enjoy the fall day, get those last stamps on your passport, and look forward to cool prizes!

Operation Clean Stream stats will blow your mind

Results from Operation Clean Stream 2014 are in, and the stats are truly stunning. Like, how could there even be 2,500 tires in the Meramec Watershed? Hadn’t Arnold Stream Team #211 gotten them already?

Nope, apparently the Mighty 211 left a few tires for the rest of us.
Nope, apparently the Mighty 211 left a few tires for the rest of us.

Seriously, when I wrote about this event back in August, I failed to reflect on those crazy numbers. I just thought, “looks like they have it under control.” No kidding. Here are the results:

-2,225 volunteers donated more than 7,000 hours of their time

– 9,000 lbs. of metal was removed making our waterways a safer place to float, swim, and fish

– 6 large construction dumpsters were filled to the brim with trash from our waterways

– 2,481 tires were removed from the watershed

In a newsletter recently published, the Open Space Council had these praises and thanks to the St. Louis community:

Even with temperatures of 100+ degrees, thousands of volunteers came out to lend their time and talent to restoring the Meramec Watershed.  The event has become a St. Louis tradition, with generations of families participating together to help the local environment.

Volunteers represented a variety of ages and backgrounds and represented corporate green teams, religious groups, boy and girl scouts, canoe and kayak organizations, and many more.

We cannot thank the community enough for their support of this project.  It could not be done without all of you!

Leave it to Stream Teamers to haul a pallete in their canoe. Ai yi yi.
Leave it to Stream Teamers to haul a pallete in their canoe. Ai yi yi.

Like these pictures? The online photo album has gobs more.

Great job, OCS! We’re proud to have cosponsored your 47th Annual Cleanup as part of the 25th Anniversary Celebration, and we’re already looking forward to next year!

How one man decided to “be the change” on the Niangua River

Yesterday on the Niangua River, hundreds of volunteers dispersed across the water, in canoes donated by local outfitters. Armed with gloves and litter bags, they picked litter out of tree roots, off of riverbanks, and from wherever else they could see it.

This was the sixth cleanup of Stream Team’s 25th Anniversary Celebration. This was also the ninth year of one man’s vision for a cleaner stream and more connected community.


Check out this video by Ozark Traditions TV

About ten years ago, Carl Romesburg was fed up with seeing trash on the popular floating and fishing stream he called home–So he took action, founding a cleanup to get his whole community to reclaim the Niangua’s natural beauty.

Declaring, “It’s100% or not at all,” Carl used his vacation time to call a hundred Camden, Dallas and Laclede County groups and businesses for donations and volunteers. Some voiced their support, while others told him he was wasting his time. Some people even said he had lost his mind. “Honestly, that pushed me a little harder,” he says. 

That first cleanup started out with 80 volunteers and seven outfitters that donated canoes and shuttle services. It’s a unique arrangement; most other litter pickups require volunteers to bring their own canoe. “It would fail if I didn’t have those outfitters,” Carl says.

The past few years have drawn more than 200 volunteers to the annual cleanup. “We get little kids, 5- and 6-year-olds, up to 85-year-old kids, too,” Carl says. “They show up, we get them on the bus, send them off and then they come back.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEvery piece of the Niangua cleanup puzzle is built out of community support. “A woman, a local river rat who does trash pickup for area campgrounds, gathers all the bags,” Carl says. “She goes and picks up all the trash at each section, brings it to the picnic and puts it in a pile, so everybody can stand out and get your picture taken before we get to eat.”  Even the picnic is provided by community donors.

The result is a cleaner river and more connected community. It’s a touching thing to experience, Carl says. “You get a little choked up because you see what happens out there.”

Roubidoux Fly Fishers Cleanup

Activities: Join Stream Team 1 on the creek where it all started! The Roubidoux Fly Fishers Association (RFFA) invites any and all Stream Teamers to assist with their annual cleanup.
Date: Saturday, August 30, 2014
Time: 9:00 a.m.
Place: Pavilion #3 in Waynesville City Park

Roubidoux 2

What to expect: Once in the park, look for the banner. After the cleanup, the RFFA will provide fried chicken for a potluck lunch. Everyone is asked to bring their favorite side dish. An RSVP is required for an accurate head count for the chicken.

The RFFA also asks they you bring your own canoe or small watercraft. Shuttling will be available. The Roubidoux is mostly wadeable with some deep pools.

Directions:

To RSVP, call Lou Runnalls and leave a message: 573.336.5312 or email Todd Sparks at: toddesparks@gma​il.com.

25th-ST_Logo-Color-Final(white-center)Passport stamps will be available at this event. What’s a passport stamp? Why, it’s your gateway to fun, prizes, and Stream Team glory! Click here for more information and here for details on all upcoming 25th Anniversary events.

47th Annual Operation Clean Stream + Passport to clean water

cleanstream_drop_middle_withOSCActivities: Join thousands of other volunteers to clean the shores and waters of the Meramec River in this project run by the Open Space Council for the St. Louis Region.
Date: August 23-24, 2014
Time: 8:00 a.m.
Place: State Parks and other sites along the Meramec (full list below).

What to expect: Since 1967, The Open Space Council for the St. Louis Region has organized Operation Clean Stream. Volunteers take to the Meramec River and its tributaries, working to undo damage caused throughout the year by flooding, careless littering and the unlawful dumping of trash. Volunteers participate both in canoes and boats, as well as on the shore, in nearby parks, and along nearby trails. In 2013, more than 3000 volunteers pulled 2,607 tires and 351 cubic yards of trash from the river.

girlsWhat to expect if you’re a youth: You are extra special. The Passport to Clean Water Program began in 2012 as an educational tool for young, Operation Clean Stream volunteers. Each year, organizations throughout the St. Louis Region, whose mission includes water quality, facilitate educational, interactive activities, discussions, and explorations that explain different aspects of water with youth and their families. Our goal with this program is to provide all participants with crucial, take-home knowledge on how they can improve water quality in their own daily lives

The Passport to Clean Water program will take place on August 23, 2014 in Greentree Park in Kirkwood, MO and is free and open to all youth ages 5-18.  The program will run from 11 am – 1:00 pm.  

OCS1

OCS Locations:

Arnold City Park — Volunteers should meet at 8:00 am. The park is located at: 1 Bradley Beach Rd, Arnold, MO 63010

Greentree Park — Volunteers should meet at 9:00 am at the shelter. The park is located at: 2202 Marshall Rd, Kirkwood, MO 63122

George Winter Park, Volunteers should meet between 8:00 am and 9:00 am at the main picnic  shelter. The park is located at: 401 Allen Road, Saint Louis, MO 63026

Route 66 State Park — Volunteers should meet between 7:00 am to 8:00 am at the Route 66 State Park Visitor Center (Exit 266) located at: 97 N Outer Rd E #1, Eureka, MO 63025

 Meramec State Park — Volunteers should meet at 8:00 am at Shelter #2. The park is located at: 115 Meramec Park Drive, Sullivan, MO 63080-4271. Lunch for volunteers will be at 12:30 pm

Castlewood State Park — Volunteers should meet at 9:00 am at the east side of the River Access Day use Area located at: 1401 Kiefer Creek Rd, Ballwin, MO 63021

For more information: Visit the official Operation Clean Stream site.

25th-ST_Logo-Color-FinalSubmit an activity report to claim your stake in the mega-cool drawing for Stream Team 25th Anniversary greatness. Time is running out to fill up your passport, but you can still check out the fall events, including a float on the Current River!

Jacks Fork Cleanup Results

Members of the  Scenic Rivers Stream Team Association crew sure know how to draw a crowd!

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Many dozens of participants at the 16th Annual Jacks Fork Cleanup.

By all measures, the 16th Annual Jacks Fork Cleanup was a major success. It was a great turnout, and look at all this trash they saved from the streams and banks:

  • 7 tires
  • 1 tractor tire
  • 11 large green mesh bags
  • 80 red mesh bags
  • 4 large trash bags
  • 2 grills
  • 1 Sleeping bag
  • Chimney Tiles
  • 8×8 post with eye bolt
  • Spray cans
  • Hitching post

And that’s only naming the highlights! 

Photos courtesy of Angel Kruzen and Ted Haviland.

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Bay Creek’s looking a whole lot cleaner thanks to these good Stream Team citizens!
This lucky Stream Teamer won a canoe for coming out and cleaning Jacks Fork. Lucky duck!
This smiling Stream Teamer won a canoe for coming out and cleaning Jacks Fork. Lucky duck!

Plan out next year’s cleanup excursion early! Why not? You can read our event preview from June here.

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Did you know that the Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition helps Stream Teams dispose of tires for free? Click here for more information. It could save your team lots of dollars!
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“Stash your trash.” But you already knew that.

Did you attend the Jacks Fork Cleanup, or one of its sister events, like the one on the Current? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

Declare Independence from trashy boat accesses!

It’s about to be a big week for the Missouri River. Not only will its banks and its barges see a ton of Fourth of July action, but the MR340 is coming round the bend July 8th through 11th [edit: the race has been postponed to mid-August; another month to clean your access!]

Missouri River Relief Stream Team 1875 is facilitating a “Do-It-Yourself” cleanup of Missouri River boat accesses. Volunteers are invited to adopt a Missouri River access near them for the week, help clean up trash from Independence Day weekend, and show the MR340 race participants how clean we keep our Missouri River boat ramps!

Access adopters will be responsible for disposing of the trash they pick up, and River Relief will assist in this process. Stream Team and River Relief will supply trash bags, gloves, and a Stream Team 25th anniversary t-shirt. Click here to sign up, or for more information, email riverrelief@riv​errelief.org. Deadline to register to receive supplies will be Monday, June 23rd.