Jefferson City Missouri River Cleanup 2022

Tons of Trash
Tons of Tires

Wilson's Serenity Point at Noren Access - Jefferson City, MO - Saturday, October 15th, 2022

There’s a reason we try to host our last cleanup of the season on our home stretch of river and this cleanup certainly reminded us why. Our mid-MO cleanups always bring together some of our favorite river-lovin’ people and the support from our local community is always unmatched. To top it off, we hosted this last cleanup out of one of our favorite areas along the river, Wilson’s Serenity Point at Noren Access, a tribute to great river heroes Joe Wilson, Tom Halfen, Ernest “Richard” Lovell and Walter Birmingham. We know we made them proud by bringing together 229 volunteers to help us remove 109 bags of trash, 33 tires and a huge load of scrap metal from the banks of the Missouri River.

Over 2,700 pounds of scrap metal collected from the Jefferson City Cleanup. Photo by Kevin Tosie

A small group of dedicated volunteers we refer to as our “crew” joined us on Wednesday to help us set up our camp kitchen, gather firewood and launch boats in anticipation for the week’s events. It was a tough day for our crew members because we not only had to fight the wind but also earth as we muscled in anchors for our camp kitchen. After a few hours and many drops of sweat we were set for the week.

Thursday, we hosted our friends, partners and sponsors at Wilson’s Serenity Point for a Big Muddy Sunset Cruise & BBQ as a thank you for their support which makes what we do possible. We were joined by friends from the Department of Natural Resources, Veterans United Foundation, Missouri Department of Conservation, Midwest Paddle Adventures, Columbia Public Schools, Veterans United Foundation, and even the Mayor of Jefferson City, Carrie Tergin. We all enjoyed a subtle sunset as we floated down past the Capitol and Adrian Island.

Friends, partners and sponsors get ready for their sunset cruise. Photo by Alyssa Thomas

Friday was our trash scout which is a crucial element to our cleanup’s success. Before any large-scale cleanup we perform trash scouts along a 10-mile stretch of river to locate and mark areas of high-density trash while making sure each site is safe for our volunteers. Although the scout is a crew favorite, this scout was particularly tough because of the wind and low water. While we certainly found enough sites for the next day, we weren’t finding as much trash as we were hoping for. But that’s a good thing, right?! The fact that we’ve been hosting cleanups out of this location for so long and there hasn’t been a (very) high-water event since our last visit in 2019 meant that our volunteers needed to work a little harder and walk a little further to find the trash.

Mizzou Engineering STEM Scholars teaming up to clean up the Missouri River. Photo by Elke Boyd

Saturday was of course the big day. Volunteers visited registration before learning some Missouri River and Jefferson City history at orientation, what to look out for during the safety talk and then of course fitted for life jackets before boarding our boats. This cleanup was unique because we didn’t have a huge amount of trash to collect this day. Luckily our mission is to connect people to the Missouri River so we encouraged volunteers to take time to enjoy the river and take in experiences while they were at their sites. One of our personal highlights of this cleanup was the energy and sense of community during lunch. We’ve never had a cleanup quite like this were so many people stayed at the park to sit and enjoy the river. Many volunteers also took advantage of the beautiful day to work on their Missouri River Explorer Badge by creating a water color or reading a book. A lovely scene that warmed our hearts.

After lunch our volunteer crew headed back out on the river to bring back all the trash collected throughout the morning. The Missouri River Bird Observatory partnered with us to conduct a trash audit of what was collected that day. A meticulous and time-consuming task, MRBO collected a lot of great data on what companies are most responsible for polluting our environment. The data collected will be sent to Break Free from Plastic to help fight plastic pollution on a large scale.

Volunteers from MRBO and MRR auditing the trash collected. Photo by Melanie Cheney

Overall, the Jefferson City Missouri River Cleanup was a huge success and will keep us smiling throughout the slower winter months. There are countless sponsors and partners who make this possible but we truly could not have done this without the amazing fisheries biologists and conservation agents with the Missouri Department of Conservation who took the time out of their busy season to help us ferry volunteers on the Missouri River. A huge thank you to Darby Niswonger, Brian McKeage, Lucas McClamroch and Scott Voney. We really appreciate you.

MDC Fisheries Biologist, Darby Niswonger, gets ready to take out her next group of volunteers. Photo by Steve Schnarr

Trash Tally

109 Bags Trash!!

18 tires on rims
15 tires without rims
2 inner tubes
1 orange barrel
4 5-gallon plastic buckets
3 5-gallon metal buckets
3 ½ 55-gallon plastic barrels
3 50-gallon plastic tubs
1 2 ½-gallon plastic fishing jug
1 1-gallon glass jug
1 black plastic wastebasket
1 large fake pottery planter
1 blue cooler with wheels
1 dish drainer
1 folding patio umbrella (red)
1 futon frame
1 woven wrought iron lawn chair
1 outdoor rocking chair
2 plastic lawn chairs
1 park bench
2 Bibles
1 TV front (no screen)
2 radios
2 freezer chests
2 tube Fluorescent light bulbs
1 washing machine drum
1 washing machine control panel
1 washing machine casing
1 paddle boat (partial)
1 car bumper
1 rusted radiator grill
1 plastic shopping cart with wheel alarms
1 truck fender
1 tricycle (green)
1 culvert
1 trailer hitch
1 10’ galvanized pipe
1 6’ square siding
1 helium tank
2 metal garden posts
2 coil springs (2’ and 6”)
1 MDC “area closed” sign on 10’ wooden post
1 3’ red hose
1 12’ cable line
1 bolt landscaping fabric
1 wood stove pipe and stove door
1 gasoline pipe
1 6” copper pipe
1 outdoor metal light shade
1 butcher tray
5 lengths of rebar
1 crowbar
1 folding wire gate
1 sewer pipe
1 12’x12” diameter piling pipe
1 heavy braided rope (very muddy)
braided iron cable wire
40+ railroad spikes
sheet metal
scrap metal pieces
rail lengths
rail fasteners
12 rail mounting plates
1 pink plastic horse
1 red plastic child size 4-wheeler
2 footballs
1 kickball
3 soccer balls
5 tennis balls
4 softballs (one with red & blue KU Jayhawk design)
2 basketballs
2 volleyballs
1 raccoon skull
1 snakeskin
1 animal spine
1 beaver stick
2 horse jaws (left and right) with teeth
1 complete jaw of anonymous animal with 20 perfect white teeth
1 cowboy boot with insole
1 croc shoe
1 black & white paisley kerchief
1 fishing net
1 fishing pole
1 paring knife
1 lime green first responder helmet
1 lavender cigarette lighter
1 tape measure
1 glass Coke bottle
1 rubber duck
1 plastic apple
1 glass jar full of ball point pens
1 microphone stand
1 cement trowel
1 spider ring
1 6v battery (Power Source)
1 can deer urine
1 Charlie Purlsey PVC container
1 pink plastic Comet container
1 1-gallon Styrofoam jug with outer shell missing

Jefferson City Cleanup Results

KOMU8 - "Missouri Rive Relief hosts last large scale clean-up of the year" by Euphenie Andre

Jefferson City News Tribune - "Hundreds turn out for Missouri River Cleanup event" by Joe Gamm

Photos on Facebook

Photos on Flickr

Total Volunteers: 229

  • Volunteers signed in: 185
  • River Relief Crew: 44
  • Boats: 9 (5 MRR | 4 MDC)
  • River Miles Cleaned: 10
  • River Stage: 4.7-ft. @ Jefferson City
  • Landfill: 1.9 tons
  • Scrap Metal: 1.4 tons
  • Tires: 33 - 0.7 tons

Total Trash Tonnage: 3.8

Groups Participating: Stream Team 211, Stream Team 1875, Stream Team 4791, Stream Team 3006, Hickman High School Biology Club, Girl Scouts of Missouri Heartland, Burrows Family, MK Family, Mizzou Honors College, Lincoln University (MANRRS, Ag Club, and FFA), Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Welch Boys, Central Methodist University Environmental Science Club, Missouri Master Naturalists, Fraga Family, Rau Family, Jefferson City High School Green Team, Mizzou Engineering STEM Scholars, Davenport Family

Fun Team Names: Flipping Frogs, Scouts, Poo Crew, Steamboat, Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed, Stem Scholars, Butt Cracks, Wild Bunch, Perfect 10, Lu Flow, Fun Bunch, The Cleaners, Mud Jug Band, River Pirates, Eager Beavers, Team Pepe, Polyester Patrol, Eagle Eyes, The Fluffy Unicorns, Bio Boater, Gunther’s Gang

A Big Muddy Thank You To Our Event Sponsors:

"Captain" Event Sponsors

Athletic Brewing CompanyBass Pro Cabelas Outdoor Fund

"Pilot" Event Sponsor

Your logo could be here!

"Engineer" Event Sponsor

Missouri Department of Conservation

"Deckhand" Event Sponsor

In-Kind Sponsors

Republic Services

Event Partners

Jeff-City-Parks-2019-ColorMissouri Life MagazineKaty Trail Shuttle

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