May 1, 2009

Rocheport Trash Tally!

Rocheport Bend Day of Caring
April 18, 2009
Rocheport, MO, and Overton Bottoms Unit of Big Muddy Refuge

Here's some results and a trash tally from this amazing day!

Thanks to everyone that made it happen...

Total Volunteers: 133 (73 clean-up volunteers)
MRR Crew: 32
Boats: 4 (3 Missouri River Relief; 1 Mo. Dept. of Conservation)
Stream Teams: The Mighty 211, 549, 1875, 1876, 2489, 2793
Rivermiles: 2
River level: 10.8 (Boonville gage)
Scrap Tons: 1 ton
Landfill Tons: 3 tons
Tires: 111 (est. 1.7 tons)
Total Tonnage: 5.7 tons
Bags of Garlic Mustard Pulled: 56 large bags
Trees Planted: 300 trees

Trash Tally!
More than 114 Large Stream Team Bags
111 Tires: 72 on the rim, 37 w/o rims, 1 truck tire, 2 inner tubes, 1 bicycle
4 Refrigerators
1 Chest Freezer in parts (tagged on 06 MegaScout trash survey)
1 Hot Water Heater
1 Dryer
5 Coolers
1 Bed Frames
4 Box Springs
5 Chairs
4 30-gallon Trash Cans
4 5-gallon Plastic Buckets
80 feet of 1” Poly Tubing
9 1-gallon Paint/Varnish Cans
10 feet of Garden Hose
10 feet of Plastic Piping
17 assorted Scrap Metal pieces
1 Hot Tub w/ Cover
1 Ironing Board
1 very ugly old woman rubber mask
1 Lock Pick Set
1 Lot Fence Wire
3 3-gallon Metal Buckets
1 Typewriter
3 55-gallon Metal Drums
1 Park Bench
1 Camping Table
1 Truck Bed Liner
1 Fire Extinguisher
1 Toilet
Several hundreds of pounds of roof shingles
1 Kitchen Sink
13 Mason Canning Jars

Jody Coats shows off a piece of a big freezer. photo by Scot Heidbrink

Gettin' it done in Rocheport

Rocheport Bend Day of Caring
April 18, 2009
Rocheport, MO, and Overton Bottoms Unit of Big Muddy Refuge

text by Steve Schnarr, photos by Scot Heidbrink & Melanie Cheney
check out our Rocheport Results webpage for more links & info

It all started with a commercial freezer. We came across this thing in 2006, when we were finishing off the home stretch on our MegaScout trash survey. During the previous summer and fall, we’d mapped trash on 754 miles of the Missouri, from Ponca, NE, to the Confluence north of St. Louis, MO. For thanksgiving weekend, we finished off the home stretch, from Boonville to Jeff City.

Racin’ Dave and I spotted a pile of tires and a big appliance. We GPS’d the spot (just upstream of Moniteau Creek next to Rocheport) and Racin’ spray-painted the rivermile and date on the side of the freezer lest it float away before we get it. (so far we’ve found several of these “tagged” items at clean-ups. The furthest travelled was 326 miles – click here to check out the blog post)

So when Missouri River Communities Network (MRCN) Vista member Maria Dorsey asked us if we wanted to add a clean-up component to their annual Rocheport Day of Caring on April 18, I immediately thought of that freezer. And all the trash along the Katy Trail and the tires scattered through the woods by many floods.

Soon, there was more. The Big Muddy Refuge across the river wanted volunteers to have a garlic mustard-pulling party, and that was the only weekend they could do it. So it became the Rocheport Bend Day of Caring – volunteer efforts spread on both sides of the river to improve the land.

Students from a West Junior High French Class gathered to plant 300 trees throughout city parks and along Moniteau Creek. This project was organized by Maria, then-Rocheport mayor Brett Dufur, and MRCN Americorps workers Katrina Thomas and Pam Venable. The Friends of Rocheport worked with us to put on lunch for the whole crew.

We decided to do a three-prong clean-up assault. One team worked on pulling down the remains of a collapsed building right along the Katy Trail. They bagged up the shingles and trash and left a monster burn pile ready to go. It took all morning with a chainsaw, a gas-powered chop saw, hammers, pry bars and shovels. Tires from the surrounding woods were rolled to the trail and bags of trash emerged from the surrounding forest.

Another several groups cleaned along the Katy Trail, walking deep into the forest and rolling out tires and all kinds of junk.

And some more folks hit the river, walking down the Riverwalk trail to the mouth of Moniteau Creek to meet the River Relief boat fleet. Boats took crews to the site of the aforementioned freezer, as well as a couple spots near the old head (now closed) of the Overton Chute.

The original Overton Chute had a sharp bend near its entrance, and quickly became clogged with driftwood. So the Corps of Engineers punched in a new entrance just
downstream. But driftwood and a whole lot of trash still collects in the old entrance (a spot Refuge Biologist Wedge Watkins told us about and flagged for us). Volunteers struggled through the driftwood, dragging bags full of plastic and glass and rolling refrigerators and tires to shore to be hauled away by boat.

Meanwhile, volunteers Don Doughtery (who drove to the cleanup in the rain in his cool go-cart) and Alvin Sweezer broke that freezer into manageable pieces that could be hauled to shore.

Even though this was a relatively small clean-up, it was one of our most complicated, with volunteers showing up at Rocheport and then walking 1/2 mile to board boats. Boats were launched across the river at Taylor's Landing, where trash was also hauled out. Plus, the overpass to Taylor's Landing was closed, meaning an extra 10 minute drive for hauling trash and boats by land.

So activity was buzzing all over the river that day, and a whole lot got accomplished. 300 trees were planted, 56 huge bags of garlic mustard were pulled, 111 tires were removed from town and the river, and 5.7 tons of trash were hauled away.

Thanks to everyone who came out on a soggy Saturday to help beautify the Rocheport Bend!!!!

Special thanks to Brett and Tawnee Dufur, who hosted our crew camp at their beautiful Katy Trail Bed and Bikefest, and made a bunch of other things easier.

Thanks to the City of Rocheport for contributing to our lunch and disposal costs.

And thanks to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for funding Missouri River clean-ups.