March 24, 2008

Spring Cleaning along the Riverfront Heritage Trail

River Otter Day Clean-up
March 22, 2008
Riverfront Heritage Trail, future Wetlands Ecosystem Restoration Project,
historic Town of Kansas

Kansas City, MO

photos copyright 2008 by Michael and Vicki Richmond

The second annual River Otter Day kept up a tradition started last year – postponement due to snow on the ground. Saturday, March 22 was our “Plan B” date, and luckily the weather was fantastic.

The annual Kansas City Riverfront clean-up was originally instigated by the Port Authority of Kansas City, who is hard at work renovating land around the Riverfront Heritage Trail and the Main Street Pier, at the historic site of the Town of Kansas on the Missouri River. Also in the works is a pedestrian/bike overpass connecting the Riverfront Heritage Trail to Berkley Riverfront Park.

They led the way again this year, bringing MRR Western Reach Manager Vicki Richmond in on the planning and execution.

Over 50 volunteers showed up, working hard all morning to remove every piece of trash they could find along the trail and at the future site of the Port Authority’s Wetland Ecosystem Restoration Project, which will return portions of the riverside land to restored wet prairie. They again cleared off the lonely piling below the pier, requiring a ladder and broom. Other crews crawled into the railroad “roundhouse”, cleaning out piles of old garbage.

In addition to Missouri River Relief KC crewmembers, there were folks from the Little Blue River Watershed Coalition, the newly formed Wal-Mart Stream Team, the local Downtown Community Improvement District, Alligator Cove Stream Team #1876, Friends of Riverfront Park, the Port Authority of Kansas City, Kansas City Power & Light and other area groups. Some of the energy built up in the previous weekend's Kansas City Area Stream Team Conference carried over to the effort, giving folks a chance to act right away after being inspired at the Conference. Thanks to everyone for pitching in.

Click here for the NBC coverage...

Check out the Trash Tally below to see what all these busy hands came up with!

Special Thanks to our Sponsors and Partners in this effort!
Port Authority of Kansas City (clean-up hosts & MRR sponsor)
Kansas City Power & Light (MRR sponsor)
First & Main Lofts
Eljay's Coffeehouse
Cafe al Dente
Planet Sub
Missouri Stream Team

River Otter Trash Tally!

River Otter Day Clean-up
March 22, 2008
Kansas City, MO

Here's the partial tally of trash from the River Otter Day Clean-up along the Missouri River in downtown Kansas City, MO, perfectly tallied by MRR crewmember Michael Richmond -

80 Blue or Black trash bags filled with trash
( bags were filled with plastic bottles, Styrofoam cups, misc. wrappers/papers, small metal objects, and forgotten treasures)
20 Mesh bags filled with glass
1 plastic chair
1 sign
1 ice cooler
10 plastic 5 gal buckets
15’ plastic pipe
1 4’ trout pillow (species not common in Missouri River)
1 white wicker chair
9 Rugs of assorted sizes
2’ x 4’ piece of ½” plywood
5 worn and tattered blue tarps
1 elec. Vacuum cleaner
1 15’ steel rod/bent
2 plastic hoses
1 metal bucket
1 Cadbury blue candy sign
1 rusty paint can
1 shopping cart
1 wire screen
1 rope
1 foam liner from full size sofa
1 15’ 2” steel pipe
1 blanket
1 plastic red milk crate
1 wood fence post (perhaps from the town of Kansas?)
1 mattress
1 small stuffed rabbit toy/ confirmed NOT to be the Easter Bunny
2 rusty mattress spring sets
1 folding camp chair, badly worn
2 orange safety cone
1 4’ x 8’ sheet of ½’ plywood
1 2 ½’ plastic hose, 25’ in length
1 2’ x 6’ steel floor grate
1 double brown steel kitchen sink, w/o faucet
1 4’ plumbing rusty pipe drain
1 elec. Panel
1 auto gas tank
misc. scrap metal
1 rusty chair springs
1 window AC box w/o insides
1 toaster oven but no toast
1 ball busing compressor from refrigerator
misc. parts to old washing machine
4’ wire cable
1 phonograph turn table
1 6’ rope with noose
10 tires
1 stove
1 dumpster filled with bricks/concrete blocks, misc. metal and approx. 15 bags of trash, and mesh bags of glass items.

New friendships, a beautiful day, and a litter free riverfront!

March 10, 2008

Somebody ought to do something about that mess...

Mari-Osa Dump Clean-up
March 1-2, 2008
Mari-Osa MDC Public Boat Access on the Osage River

text by Steve Schnarr, photos by Lindsay Tempinson and Jen Courtney
for more details, visit our website:
for a pdf results page, click here

What makes the perfect river clean-up?
Perfect weather.
You get a bunch of trash.
The boats all work.
You meet new people.
Your friends that live in the area come out to help.
There’s a bunch of local river rats that like what’s going on and make it their clean-up.
You see a flock of pelicans.
You have a nice place to stay on the riverside.

Luckily, on March 1-2, all that stuff happened! Was this the perfect clean-up?

What we did, with the help of 94 volunteers, was to take a massive chunk out of a decades-old dumpsite spilling into the Osage River just upstream of the Mari-Osa Delta. Crews spent a day and a half pulling 18.7 tons of junk from the base of that dump. We didn’t get it all, but I think the momentum to make it all disappear has begun.

Our friend, Jeff Finley of the US Fish and Wildlife service, pointed the dump out to us. His dad owns a house on the banks of the river just downstream of the mouth of the Maries and he’d driven his shoalrunner by that dump a hundred times. What he told me is that one day he drove by that dump thinking, “Somebody ought to do something about that,” when he realized…he knew just the right folks.

Once we started calling around, Skip Jenkins, who lives right down there too, let us know that not only would he help out, he had a bunch of folks called the “Osage River Navy” that were going to pitch in. Pretty soon, the Navy had us set up with a trailer headquarters (with an awning), came to our pre-clean-up pow-wow, gave us free ice, smoked us up a fine BBQ dinner, and even brought the leftovers for lunch the next day. Bob Woodward from the Osage Campground and More fixed our ailing 60 horse Mercury. A bunch of them hit the dumpsite all day Saturday and even came back for more on Sunday.

A lot of friends from other Stream Teams, the Department of Conservation, the Department of Natural Resources, the Fish & Wildlife Service, the National Guard, folks that’d helped on other clean-ups and family came out to help. At the last minute, Jarad Milligan from MDC brought a boat and hauled trash in its bow all morning. People who’d seen the dump for years and saw the clean-up in the paper came out. Folks whose grandparents used that dump came out.

One guy (who made me promise not to use his name) even remembered that when he was a teenager they’d go to the dump on Saturday morning and dump a truck full of junk off that bluff. Saturday night, he’d come back with his friends and a case of beer and throw their empties down on the pile.

As soon as we had a boat full of volunteers, they started tearing into the pile. The first boat full of appliances came rolling in to the ramp before the last boat of volunteers went out.

After a morning of hauling junk, we had to call in two more scrap metal dumpsters (thank you Harold from Galamba for working overtime bringing those out!) to hold the trash stash. We took a group photo in front of one brimming dumpster and headed out for more.

The nicest thing about a clean-up like this is at the end of the day, the people that did it can see a huge difference. The bottom of that dump pile melted away. They just made their river a better place and every time they go by it in a boat, they’ll remember it.

If only we had massage tables, it would have been the perfect clean-up.

Thank You!!!

Mari-Osa Dump Clean-up
March 1-2
Mari-Osa MDC Public Boat Access

text by Steve Schnarr, photos by Jen Courtney and Lindsay Tempinson

This clean-up was a success because of the help of a lot of different folks.

An extra special thanks to Bob Woodward, owner and operator of the Osage Campground and More. He delivered a storage trailer for clean-up headquarters, gave us free ice and water, fixed our 60 horse Mercury and hosted a post clean-up BBQ in his shop. Those are only the things that I am aware of.

Thanks to Skip Jenkins for bouncing out of the hospital right into full host mode. He and Jim Cooper smoked dinner for us all day long in the Osage Navy BBQ.

All the amazing characters of the Osage River Navy for welcoming us to their stretch of the Osage and making the day work.

The 94 volunteers who gave up the most beautiful Saturday and Sunday of the year (so far) to make the Osage a more beautiful and safe place.

Fabick CAT for donating rental of a skid steer (and delivering it!)

Jeff Finley and his parents Mark and Maggie Finley for letting us use (and hopefully not abuse) their beautiful riverside home and boat slips for the crew to stay in the lap of luxury.

Harold from Galamba Metals for staying late to deliver two more scrap dumpsters.

Missouri Department of Natural Resources Director Doyle Childers for stopping by on his way home from State Parks’ opening trout day to work the ramp all afternoon. He’s been doing clean-ups since the 70’s, and he keeps coming out to make it happen.

Missouri Stream Team for bags, t-shirts, support, and sending a couple of your most valuable players out to help. Also to Missouri River Communities Network and their Americorps Stream Team Assistant Project.

Jarad Mulligan of the Dept. of Conservation for bringing his sampling boat to haul trash.

Rural Missouri, KOMU Channel 8, the Jefferson City News Tribune and the Linn Unterrified Democrat for showing the public what these volunteers did.

Mid-Missouri Solid Waste Management District, for always supporting us in the area and purchasing our latest boat, trailer, motor and a slew of useful tools.

Hy-Vee and Gerbes of Columbia for donating food.

Westlakes and Home Depot of Columbia for donating tools.

Pat Jones for supporting these local projects.

Jim Salmons for hauling off our mangled and muddy tires. Allied Waste for bringing our landfill dumpster.

All of our sponsors for making this machine run.

And, especially, the Missouri River Relief volunteer crew, who invented this crazy project and make it work year after year, rivermile after rivermile, ton after ton, refrigerator after refrigerator. And for making it fun!

The Saturday Afternoon Clean-up Crew!

Mari-Osa Trash Tally!

Mari-Osa Dump Clean-up March 1-2, 2008
Mari-Osa MDC Public Boat Access

photos by Lindsay Tempinson and Jen Courtney
Tally meticulously maintained by "Sedalia" Tim Clanton

Total Volunteers: 94
MRR Crew: 18
Boats: 4 (3 Missouri River Relief boats and 1 Missouri
Department of Conservation)
Stream Teams: 1875, 1876, 2660, 2948, 3131, 741, 987, 549,
2489, 2793
Rivermiles: 0.5
Scrap Tons: 13.2
Landfill Tons: 5.5 tons
Tires: 79
River level: 11.5 feet

As volunteers peeled away layers of this old dump, some amazing historical objects were revealed and then removed. Most folks went home with a cool old bottle or trash treasure in their pockets. We had tried in vain to get an anthropologist to come along and study the dump contents, but instead, everyone became an anthropologist!

Filling four 30-yard dumpsters of scrap metal and one 30-yard dumpster of landfill, we found (at least):

212 bags of trash
195 tin/steel cans
196 buckets
161 barrels
48 tubs
2 freon/gas cylinders
34 refrigerators
49 hot water heaters
39 stoves
7 furnaces
10 kitchen sinks
9 rusty stoves
1 baby stroller
1 1960s plastic microscope
1 water logged brassierre
1 microwave
1 television
1 oil pump
1 iron jack
1 furnace
1 shortwave tube radio
1 computer
2 baby dolls
1 typewriter
1 bbq grill barrel
1 elementary school desk
1 camping thermos
1 box fan
5 dryers
1 steel & wooden wagon tongue
1 “Rug Doctor” carpet cleaner
1 large Kelvinator sign
1 juke box
1 sewing machine stand
2 AC units
60 washing machines

2 wringer washers
2 toilets
79 tires
35 car body parts & panels
1 pink 1950s Ford
1 rusty hood of a 1956 DeSota
1 front fender of a 1949 Studebaker
1 Ford clutch pressure plate (1963)
2 Cadillac hub caps
1 blue 1956 Pontiac
5 gas tanks
12 wheels
8 car seats
4 mufflers
9 gas cans
4 car batteries
5 Missouri license plates (1976, 1930, 1931, 1971)
10 car seat springs
2 clay pipes
19 lengths of guttering
786 assorted scraps of rusty metal (sheet-stamped-angle-tube)
34 panels or rolls of fencing
16 pieces of barbed wire
12 pieces of 1” wire cable
158 pieces of steel wire (small to large)
74 pieces of structural iron and tube
14 pieces of cast iron
23 bed frame
37 bed springs
2 stereos
7 gas grills
2 gas push mowers
1 roaster oven
108 cooking utensils
2 big wheels
1 bicycle
1 ½ tricycles
1 unicycle
1 office chair
1 enamel chamber pot “thunder bucket” shot full of bullet holes
7 metal chairs
4 lamps
36 metal cabinets & shelving
2 bicycle wheels
1 snow sled
3 commercial clothes dryer
1 ironing machine
1 hand iron
1 ornate cast iron wood stove
1 porcelain bathtub in pieces