September 27, 2011

The Big Muddy Clean Sweep Begins!

Big Muddy Clean Sweep Logo
 "River Relief begins Big Muddy Clean Sweep to remove trash for 170 miles in 8 towns on the Missouri River”
Missouri River Relief is bringing barges upriver to Jefferson City to start a month-long voyage removing tons of trash and debris from the shores of the Missouri River. This endeavor — the Big Muddy Clean Sweep — is the flagship project of River Relief’s 10th Anniversary celebration.

Missouri River Relief (MoRR) is operating two barges and a towboat to haul recovered debris along the 143-mile reach from the state capital to the Mississippi River. Clean Sweep Barge Moves Upriver 9-24-11 The River Cleanup Barge heads upriver towards Hermann on Sept. 24th, 2011photo by Dave Marner
The Clean Sweep voyage will start with a community-based cleanup with hundreds of local volunteers on Saturday, Oct. 1 in Jefferson City and will finish Saturday, Oct. 29, with a community-based cleanup at the Columbia Bottom Conservation Area near St. Louis.  Click here for more information about the Jeff City Clean-up.

The collected trash and debris will be hauled on a sand barge and unloaded at terminals on the Mississippi River for recycling or proper disposal at landfills. The MoRR barge team will stay on a quarters barge with office and storage space, cabins, a galley and a bathroom. 
Both barges will be pushed by a towboat named “River Cleanup” provided by Living Lands & Waters, an equipment-based organization similar to MoRR that conducts cleanups on the Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio and many other rivers. The LL&W founder, Chad Pregracke, inspired the creation of MoRR at the first big Missouri River cleanup on Oct. 6, 2001. He was instrumental for the event’s success by bringing his boats, barges and crew to Easley, Mo., where 300 volunteers removed 30 tons of trash

The Big Muddy Clean Sweep will be punctuated with stops at four river towns along the way — Jefferson City (Sept. 26-Oct. 2), Hermann (Oct. 3-9), Washington (Oct. 10-16), St. Charles(Oct. 17-23)— and at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. 
These week-long moorings will enable MoRR to conduct community-based cleanups with hundreds of local volunteers, educational field trips, river festivals, barge tours and celebrations Check for specific dates and activities at MoRR’s website:

Residents along the river that would like to be involved, or may know of trash or dumps accessible from the river that should be cleaned up may also contact Missouri River Relief through their website:

The first Clean Sweep cleanups originally were planned in Kansas City and Cooper’s Landing in Boone County but due to high river levels and flooding this year, the project started in a leapfrog manner. The first cleanup occurred Saturday, Sept. 10 in Kansas City from land-based sites instead of by boat. More than 250 volunteers cleaned up an estimated 7 tons of trash from 11 sites, including several public parks ravaged by flooding.  Read more about the Kansas City Clean-up on our webpage.

The second series of cleanups happened Sept. 17-25 at Cooper’s Landing while the barge fleet was being transported upstream with a towboat provided by Hermann Sand and Gravel Company. This boat-based cleanup brought 186 volunteers on the river to remove 50 tires, 1/2 ton of scrap metal and 2.6 tons of trash. Volunteers included students from Douglass High School, Columbia Home School Resource Group and Garden Gate School, employees from Columbia Wal-Mart stores and members of Friends of Big Muddy, Missouri Master Naturalist, Missouri Stream Team and Sustain Mizzou.

MoRR and the Big Muddy Clean Sweep is the result of partnership, sponsors and volunteers who support the effort with time, energy, money and materials. Golden Mile sponsors, donating $10,000 or more to the Clean Sweep include Boeing, 3M, Missouri American Water, Solid Waste Management Districts, the Missouri Department of Conservation, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Pat Jones. A complete list can be seen at the MoRR website   

River Relief’s 10th anniversary will serve as a springboard for future growth, building on existing partnerships and identifying key individuals and organizations in communities to form a coalition of Missouri River Action Teams (MoRATs) interested in improving the health and beauty of the Missouri River for decades to come.

Missouri River Relief is a non-profit organization based in Columbia, Mo., whose mission is to connect people to the Missouri River through hands-on river clean-ups, education events and restoration activities.  In just 10 years,the organization has made a visible & lasting difference on the river bringing together more than 14,000 volunteers to haul more than 1 million pounds of trash from 667 miles of river shores. 
2011 marks Missouri River Relief’s 10th Anniversary.

10th anniversary logo

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