October 25, 2007

Tally Ho in the Big O!

Omaha & Council Bluffs Missouri River Clean-up
September 22, 2007
Riverfront Marina at Lewis & Clark Landing

We had another amazing weekend working in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area for our second Missouri River cleanup in those wonderful river towns. Watch this space for more stories and pictures of the event, but here are the results from the day.

Thanks to everyone who helped out (the list is long....), but especially the Army Corps of Engineers, Back to the River, Inc., the National Park Service and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. All the trash from the day was collected on an Army Corps of Engineers barge brought down the river for the occasion.

Total Volunteers:
River Relief Core Crew:
River Miles:
15 (river mile 610-625, both banks)
Tons of Landfill Trash:
5.4 tons
Tons of Scrap Metal:
1.29 tons
Number of Boats:
15 (US Army Corps of Engineers-2; Nebraska Game & Parks Commission-6; Missouri River Relief-4; Iowa Department of Natural Resources-1; National Park Service-1; Izaac Walton League-1)
Groups Represented:
Boy Scout Troops 3572, 430 & 494, CASS Program of Iowa Western Community College, Izaac Walton League.
Names of Volunteer Crews:
“Spanish”, “Red Hot Chili Lobsters”, “Holy Cross”, “Ballers”, “Troop 3572”, “McCarty 5”, “Trash Pirates”, “Yellow”, “Dirty Dozen”, “River Beavers”, “Troop 494”, “Flaming Dragons”, “Pink Salamanders”, “Air Force 1”, “Boy Scouts”

Partial List of Trash

Large Trash Bags
(several required
5-8 people to lift) 233
Wheel Chair
(Excellent Condition) 1
Tent with Mattress 1
55 gallon plastic barrels 7
Lawn Mower Decks 2
Tires 15
Fence Posts 2
Pieces of Carpet 6
Blankets 2
Car Battery 2
Steam Camp Heater 1
Safe 1
Coolers 1
Wooden Door Slab 1
Tarps 3
Baby Stroller (no baby) 1
Wad of Insulation 1
Mesh Fence 30ft
PVC Pipe 60ft
Tire Pieces 4
Metal Tent Poles 18
Styrofoam Chunks 12
Metal Stand 1
Rubber Hose 1
Large Plastic Disc’s 5
Frying Pan 1
Sign 1
Cooking Pot 1
Bike Tires 5
Fire Extinguisher 1
Truck Parts 1
Basket Balls 2
Scrap Metal 23
Milk Crates 2
Wire Cable 25ft
Kickstand 1
Propane Tanks 3
Wheelchair Arm 1
Chairs 11 1/2
Lazy Boy Metal 1
Bicycles 9
Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink 1
Tire Rims 5
Exhaust Pipes/Mufflers 3
Shovel 1
Refrigerators 2
55 Gallon Metal Barrels 5
Carpet Pads 2
Metal Springs 5
Fishing Table 1
Metal Grill 7
Baseballs 10
Large Nylon Tents 2
Sleeping Bag 1
5 Gallon Buckets 4
Large Banner 4
Plastic Ornamental
Tree w/Stand- 1
Mattress’ 2
Plastic Trash Can 1
Plastic 100 Gallon
Chemical Tank (broken) 1
Tables 2
Electrical Conducters 2
Stripped Electrical Cable 100ft
Plastic Cafeteria Tray 1
Full Bud Light 1
Propane tank with written message: “This property guarded by unfriendly pets”
½ of a Cooler
Large Cardboard Spool

Cooper's Clean-up Trash Tally

Cooper's Landing Clean-up
September 15, 2007
Cooper's Landing Marina at the Port of Nashville

Here's the results from our Cooper's Landing Missouri River clean-up on September 15. Thanks to Dyan Pursell for keeping such a meticulous list! And thanks to Veolia Environmental Services for donating a rolloff dumpster, Jimmy Rippeto for hauling off our scrap metal, AutoTech for dealing with the tires and especially for Civic Recycling, who took our plastic, aluminum and glass (one of the only places in the state that will take river-ravaged recyclables...)

Total Volunteers: 36
River Relief Core Crew: 20
River Miles: 8 (168-174 both banks, plus 2 miles up the mouth of the Perche Creek)
Road & Trail Miles: 3
Tons of Landfill Trash: 1.1
Tons of Scrap Metal: estimated 1.4 tons
Recyclables: 128 cubic feet of plastic, 400 lbs. glass, 20 lbs. aluminum
Number of Boats: 3 (Missouri Department of Conservation: 1; River Relief: 2)
Groups Represented: Friends of Big Muddy
Names of Volunteer Crews: “Trash Gordon”, “Jo-Rod”, “The Roadies”

Partial List of Trash

note: of the 59 bags of trash, 21 were thrown
in the dumpster after sorting out the recyclables
59 bags of trash
18 tires
6 folding chairs
4 styrofoam chunks
1 message in a bottle from Wathena, KS, at rivermile 439
3 refrigerators
3 washing machines
2 fiber boards
2 poly 3-gallon jugs
2 pieces PVC pipe
2 decoy ducks
1 ziplock bag full of superhero action figures
2 coolers
2 left dancing shoes
2 parts of plastic lawn chair
2 plastic tubs
2 car floor mats
2 propane tanks

2 bicycle tires on rim
1 sleeping bag
1 bathroom sink
1 big TV
1 ceiling fan
1 10x13 propeller
1 stainless steel countertop
1 roll rubbing sheeting
1 1/2-foot garden hose
1 plastic baseball bat
1 car seat
1 house door
1 exercise bike
1 house door 1 super soaker
1 5-gallon plastic bucket
1 folding camp chair
1 caution sign
1 outdoor chair pad
1 message in a bottle
1 woman’s net underwear
1 Honda motorcycle fuel tank
1 winnie the pooh ball

1 FILA tennis shoe
1 binoculars
1 plastic mop bucket
1 paddle boat
1 steel 55 gallon barrel
1 plastic 55 gallon barrel
1 30-gallon metal barrel
1 buoy
½ of a plastic feed container
scrap metal
1 DVD of some pretty raunchy porn

October 22, 2007

The Craziest River Race Ever

Second Annual Flying Carp Canoe & Kayak Races September 15, 2007
Cooper's Landing at the Port of Nashville
River Ladies Auxiliary & Missouri River Relief

text by Steve Schnarr, photos by Melanie Cheney, map by Tim Nigh
If any of you were lucky enough to catch the second ever Flying Carp Races at Cooper's Landing last month...I imagine you'll never forget it.

The trouble with canoe races on the Missouri River is that they're difficult to watch. You can watch paddlers one by one cruise by your spot, but then you've got to get up and move if you want to see more. And let's face it, there's just not a lot of places to see the river.

The River Ladies Auxiliary, a group of longtime River Reliefers from the mid-Missouri area, have that problem solved. Just make the paddlers go upstream!

Sept. 15 was gorgeous, and a slew of paddlers showed up to strut their stuff and brave the ridiculous course designed for them by the RLA. The first race was with one adult and one child in canoes. The paddlers had to cruise upstream, navigating around wing dikes and several placed buoys. When they got to the sandbar at the mouth of the Perche, they had to hop out and find one piece of recyclable trash for each catagory: glass, plastic, steel & aluminum. They bagged up their stash and then ran back to their canoe to continue downstream, past Cooper's then back up to the ramp.

Tim Nigh and Heidi Bennett came up with names for all the obstacles and Tim put together this map:

The upstream part of the race was brutal. But the heart that these kids and their parents showed was totally amazing. No one gave up and everyone finished with huge, exhausted smiles.

The second race was run with two classes at once: tandem canoe and solo kayak. Here's the lowdown on how the race was run: Folks started at the wingdike by Cooper's ramp. They ferried across the river, around the buoy at "Carpbait Curve". Then they muscled upstream, passing through a pair of buoys at the end of "Deadman's Dike". Crossing the river again, they flew downstream to snag a flag from the beach called "Scurvy Sandbar". Back in the river, they entered the mouth of Bonne Femme Creek (the "Maiden's Mouth"), swung around a buoy, then hit the channel again, passing Cooper's ramp and maneuvering around a very tricky buoy in the eddy at "Pirate's Cove". The final push was upstream again, over a wingdike and into "Cooper's Bay."

It was an outrageous race. Tim Nigh and Dyno did the play-by-play over the PA, with occasional on-the-spot reports from Racin' Dave on the roving safety boat. One person tipped over, just as the first place canoe and kayak were passing over the final wingdike. Each race entrant had a name. There were play-by-play reports like this: "The Pirates missed the Maiden's Mouth! And now look, the Booty Snatchers are now snatching the lead. Folks, just goes to show that you should never forget the Maiden's Mouth...it's a mortal sin!"

Racers got great prizes like pies, massage gift certificates and the "Cooper's Cup", filled with beer or root beer.

The action was followed up by a jam by Naked Dave & the Blue Cats and a dance-off hosted by Los Desterrados (called, in typical Heidi Bennett style the "Charlie Brown Boogie-Down Danceoff"). Once again...just about the coolest party of the year, celebrating the river and the amazing community of river rats that call Cooper's Landing home.

Here's the rundown of winners:
Cooper's Cup, adult & child tandem: "The Hartsburgers" - Bill and Maggie Rotts
Cooper's Cup, tandem canoe: "The Booty Snatchers" - Eric Hempel & Rod Power
Cooper's Cup, solo kayak: "Dump Diva" (or "ankle-biting sand flea") - Jessi Just (back from Oregon!)

Homeport Celebration....

Cooper's Clean-up & Flying Carp Canoe & Kayak Races
September 15, 2007
Cooper's Landing, Port of Nashville
River Ladies Auxiliary & Missouri River Relief
text by Steve Schnarr, photos by Melanie Cheney

The River Ladies Auxiliary has been going strong for a couple years now, putting together clean-ups and outrageous riverside events at our homeport of Cooper's Landing on Providence Bend. This mysterious group of river rats always throws the best party of the year down there, raising funds for river events and raising up the community energy.

This year, Heidi Bennett was intent on hosting the coolest paddler race ever on the Missouri River. In typical River Relief fashion, we decided..."well, while we're at it, let's do a clean-up, too."

So on Sept. 15, we started our day with a small, local clean-up and followed it up with a river celebration, RLA style. The clean-up focused on trashy party spots in the area and a massive drift pile chocked full of trash from this spring's flood. Some folks walked our "Adopt-a-road" stretch along the river and the Katy Trail, gleaning several bags of trash and a chest freezer. A road crew headed to the McBaine Bottoms to pluck several appliances recently dumped on the roadside near the big bur oak tree.

We had a couple of boats hit the water. One of our boats was down, so we called Jeremy Kolaks from MDC to come in at the last minute, and he scoured the river road banks with a crew. Another crew went up the Perche Creek, looking for a half-a-paddleboat and a porta-potty a local river rat had reported. Found the paddleboat, still missing the porta-potty....

We kept this clean-up small on purpose...we wanted a more relaxed local effort before the afternoon's races. The energy that came out of it was anything but small, though. The recyclable sorting scene was frantic as always, and there was amazing homebaked goodies from Su Saragnese, Krissy Heitcamp and Jeanie Kuntz.

Brett Allen from Civic Recycling offered to take our plastic, aluminum and glass (he's the only one in the state that we know of that will accept river-ravaged recyclables). Local scrapper Jimmy Rippeto hauled off the scrap and appliances and Veolia donated a rolloff bin for everything else. AutoTech, our steady car mechanics, took our tires (although after looking at the stack of muddy tires with the rims...he may have regretted it).

Special thanks to Mike Cooper and the gang for hosting us again. And thanks to all you river lovers that came to help. One again, we got an amazing amount of trash with just a few handfuls of folks. Next year we'll do a big clean-up in the area!

And this is a photo of veteran clean-up queen Robyn Ricks with her newborn son Harrison. Robyn's husband, Sam Wright, raced in the Flying Carp races in the afternoon with Dave Dittmer (under the name "Lumberjerks") - they placed fourth!

Kansas City Collage

Dave Richter sent some photos into animoto...these are mostly shots from the morning at our Oct. 6 Kaw Point Clean-up.

October 1, 2007