Jefferson City Missouri River Cleanup 2019

Wilson's Serenity Point at Noren Access, Jefferson City, MO
Saturday, October 26, 2019

A roaring fire, bowls of chili, live music, muddy volunteers and lots and lots of Styrofoam were just a few of the sights around the beautiful Wilson’s Serenity Point during our Jefferson City Missouri River Clean-up on Saturday. This park along the Missouri River was brought back to life and transformed to its existing beauty by a dearly loved and missed river angel, Joe Wilson. It warmed our hearts to be back at this location so dear to us, with 200 of the best volunteers willing to get wet and muddy to help clean this stretch of river so heavily impacted not only by flooding, but a devastating tornado that spread Styrofoam and insulation along the banks. At the end of the day we were able to remove 4.9 tons of trash from the banks of the Missouri River which included 41 tires and a staggering 176 large chunks of Styrofoam.

One of many boatloads of Styrofoam. Photo by Steve Schnarr

On Friday, Missouri River Relief conducted a trash scout along a 10-mile stretch of river. This scout allows us to map out high density trash locations, note safety hazards, tool requirements, and determine how many volunteers we need at each spot. About half way through the scout we knew that the one trash bin was not going to be sufficient, and sure enough it wasn’t. One of our biggest trash sites was located just downstream of the boat ramp where you could see a clear path of fallen trees. The devastation along the bank was caused by a tornado that hit Jefferson City earlier this year, depositing countless blocks of Styrofoam and insulation in its wake.

A nice haul before heading back to the boat ramp for lunch. Photo by Melanie Cheney

After lunch and warming up by the fire, volunteers gathered around for our lively trash contest where we determine who had the most interesting and weird finds of the day. Some of the day's winners included a giant rubber duck in the "best animal" category and a weirdly giant light bulb in the "weirdest trash" category. As cheers from the trash contest started to die down, the rain picked up and the trash started to make its way back to the boat ramp. Even faster than the tractor could manage, boatload after boatload made it back to the ramp. Our hardcore crew huddled under tents as they ripped open each bag to sort through the trash for recycling. Before we knew it, the trash bin was full and we were creating another huge pile of trash off to the side for later disposal. 

Missouri River Relief Crew sort through bags of trash for recyclables. Photo by Kris Mattern

Thank you so much to everyone who was able to make it out, our wonderful and generous sponsors, our hosts at Jefferson City Parks and our amazing Missouri River Relief Crew who camped with us through the cold and gave their all this weekend. We seriously couldn’t have done it without all of you and we are truly grateful. We were so happy to have groups from Lincoln and Central Methodist University, Hickman High School Biology Club, Sustain Mizzou, Woodruff and Boy Scout Troops 10 and 104.

One full dumpster with another in the background, full of Styrofoam. Photo by Kevin Tosie

Trash Tally

254 Bags Trash!! Plus…
32 tires on rims
9 tires w/out rim
1 inner tube
1 5-gallon propane tank
1 50-gallon propane tank
1 500-gallon chemical tank
176 very large chunks of Styrofoam (89 came in on one boat)
1 PVC pipe 10’x 6”2 deep freezers
2 mini-refrigerators
2 hot water heaters
2 plastic yard chairs
1 lovely folding camp chair totally intact, set up (mud covered)1 woman’s black leather purse
1 travel bag
4 coolers
4 plastic tubs
8 plastic milk crates
1 6-pack bottle carrier
2 galvanized tin buckets
6 5-gallon plastic buckets
9 55-gallon plastic barrels
1 5-gallon metal buckets
1 55-gallon metal barrel
1 car bumper
1 car oil drain pan
1 car headlight
1 STOP sign on 4x4 wooden post, RR Crossing sign attached
1 gallon of paint
3 strips copper roof flashing
5 pieces tar paper
1 beach ball
1 football (small, foam) numerous muddy balls numerous light bulbs
1 child’s slide
1 toddler play table
2 plastic ducks (one pink, one yellow)1 baby rattle
1 blue plastic baby bottle
1 stainless steel butter knife
1 white plastic mixing bowl
6 plastic planters 1 fishing lure
2 flip-flops
1 croc
2 tennis shoes (not a match)20 mud-filled seed tray flats
10 messages in glass bottles!!
1 antique brown glass bottle
1 blue plastic recycle trashcan
1 perfect pumpkin


Jefferson City Cleanup Results

Check out the amazing photos on Facebook and Flickr!

Check out our news coverage of the event:

Total Volunteers: 200

  • Volunteers signed in: 167
  • River Relief Crew: 33
  • Boats: 10 (5 MRR Boats | 3 MDC | 2 U.S. Fish & Wildlife Department - Big Muddy National Fish & Wildlife Refuge)
  • River Miles Cleaned: 10 (MM139 - MM149)
  • River Stage: 19.4-ft. @ Jefferson City Gauge
  • Landfill: 3.5 tons
  • Scrap Metal: 0.4 tons
  • Recyclables: 0.2 tons
  • Tires: 41 - 0.76 tons

Total Trash Tonnage: 4.9 tons!

Groups Participating: Arnold Stream Team #211, Stream Team #449, Boy Scout Troops 10 & 104, MANNRS and Agriculture Club from Lincoln University, Haun Family, Woodruff, Sustain Mizzou, Central Methodist University Environmental Science Club, Hickman High School Biology Club, Lewis & Clark Group, Fidelis Support Services, Boonslick Missouri Master Naturalist, MST WEF, Dr. Gunther's MU Honors Biology

Fun Team Names: Captain Kim LU Ag, Team Diane, Commotion, Commotion Pt. 2, Jeff City Rebels, Cosmos Kids, Water Dogs, Extra Trees, Clover Lovers, River Rats, CMU ESC, Hickman Bio Blasters, BSA Trio, Trash Cats, Stuck with the Sins, Out of the Mud, Green Sweep, Grey Goose, River Trash, The Trash Queens, The Fabs

A Big Muddy Thank You To Our Event Sponsors:

"Great Blue Heron" Event Sponsors

Mid-Missouri Solid Waste Management DistrictDepartment of Natural ResourcesMissouri American Water

"Paddlefish" Event Sponsor

"Pallid Sturgeon" Event Sponsors

In-Kind Sponsors

Event Partners

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