Mission: Clean Stream - St. Charles Missouri River Cleanup 2013

Bishop's Landing, Lewis & Clark Boathouse - St. Charles, MO
Saturday, April 6th, 2013

It was a blast to be back in St. Charles as part of Mission: Clean Stream, a county-wide clean-up event organized by Greenway Network. Greenway Network is a stream advocacy and restoration group that is celebrating their 20th Anniversary this year!

We had 150 superb volunteers on hand to clean-up six miles of the Missouri River in St. Charles. It was a perfect spring day, a bit blustery but warm and sunny.

Dispatch working with the operator before bringing volunteers out to their trash location on the river. Photo by Danny Brown.

This was our 9th year hosting a Missouri River clean-up in the first Missouri capitol. You might think that after 9 years of cleaning up the same stretch of river we’d have it all done, right?

Well it is definitely true that much old flood debris and illegal dumps have been removed forever. And what we call the “background noise” of old trash is greatly diminished.

But each new flood pulse brings more trash, people unfortunately keep littering and, believe it or not, even after 9 years our hardworking volunteers do keep finding old flood debris that has not yet been removed. Cleanup veterans Janeen Sifford and Nate Guyton, co-workers at bioMerieux, found a backwater slough that was chocked full of huge tires and trash, apparently deposited in a flood quite a few years ago near the Hollywood Casino.

The trash haul! MRR Crew making a daisy chain to load tires onto the front-end loader. Front-end loaders are our back's best friend! Photo by Francis Baum.

Other volunteers worked along under the 370 bridge, finding some small dumps and bags of litter drifted down from the highway. A group of Ameristar employees scoured the beaches of Frontier park, cleaning up this most beautiful urban/river interface.

Most of these volunteers went out in boats piloted by Missouri River Relief crew volunteers and biologists from the Mo. Dept. of Conservation and the US Army Corps of Engineers. But we worked in tandem with the St. Charles Public Works employees, who had mapped out land sites for those that didn’t want to get out in boats. Immediately a lot of great work got done by all of these awesome volunteers giving up their Saturday to beautify their town and river.

Headed out onto the river! Photo by Francis Baum.

After the cleanup, we had a trash contest, where people brought in the most interesting items they found during the day. The “Best Darned Find of the Day” went to Shane Jordan, a manager for the Chesterfield Walmart who cleaned up about a ½ mile of riverbank by himself, only to find a scale model of the Ameristar Casino embedded in the mud that he then had to carry all the way back.

A huge thanks to Carl and Chris from St. Charles Public Works for bringing their backhoe for a big trash haul and to Republic Services for supplying the dumpsters. Bridgestone/Firestone handled ALL the tires from the Mission: Clean Stream - kudos to them!

Trash Tally:

144 Bags of Trash!


71 Tires on rims
30 Tires without rims
2 tractor-trailer Tires on rims
1 very tiny trailer Tire on rim
4 Inner Tubes
6 Chunks O’ Styrofoam
3 squares of green Astro-Turf
2 Styrofoam Coolers
1 – 5-gal. Metal Water Jug
1 Plastic Tub full of Plastic Mesh
1 – 10-gal. Plastic Bucket
8 – 5-gal. Plastic Buckets
2 – 55-gal. Metal Drums
6 - 55-gal. Plastic Barrels
1 Garbage Can
25’ of Plastic Corrugated Pipe
1 Plastic Pallet
1 Plastic Hose
1 Plastic Grate
6 Chunks O Plastic
2 Plastic Gas Cans
1 Aluminum Panel
27 Chunks of Rusted Metal
37’ of  coiled Metal Cable
2 Metal Gas Cans
2 Metal Gas Tanks
1 Metal Oil Drum
32 concrete Construction Pins
15’ of Iron Pipe
9’ of Rebar
1 auto Exhaust Pipe
1 sheet of Fiberglass
4’ of PVC Pipe
7’ of orange Plastic Tubing
1 orange Construction Cone
2 green Plastic Lawn Chairs
1 rusted Folding Chair
1 round Plastic End Table
1 Fringed Blanket
2 Quilts
1 - 4x8 sheet of Fiberglass
2 Fishing Poles
1 Fishing Lure
1 Fishing line Weight
1 Backpack
1 MO license plate
1 mile marker 8 Highway Sign on post

We find some interesting things on the river! Suprisingly, we find a lot of dolls. Photo by Patty Farrar.

Trash Contest Entries!!!!

These were entered by volunteers in the "Git That Garbage Trash Contest". Winners are in bold.

Best Darned Find of the Day

1 Ameristar Casino Scale Replica
1 Message in a Bottle - “We’re drowning…with love. Liz & Kevin, Future Alcoholics of the Midwest, 2007”

Weirdest Trash

1 toy Toilet
1 Baby Doll Head
1 Baby Doll Arm

Biggest Trash

1 Power Brake Booster
1 Camper Shell
1 200-gal. Metal Drum
1 Green Buoy
25 ft. of plastic Drainage Pipe

Most Fashionable

1 Leather Sandal
1 Tennis Shoe

Most Artistic

1 wooden Dice Sign (#5)
1 large actual Dice
1 melted Glass Bottle
1 artificial Hibiscus Flower (faded)
1 Skateboard
1 purple Bubble Wand (which blew beautiful bubbles still)

Oldest Trash

1 empty can of Busch
2 Glass Bottles
1 old Baseball
1 Medicine Bottle

Most Useful

1 plastic Red Shovel
1 Arrow
1 Baseball Helmet
3 Balls
1 full Can of Beer
1 Oil Drainpan
1 Fishing Lure
1 Philips head Screw Driver
1 Fishing Weight
1 Toy Horse Cart
1 flammable Class 3 Window Placard #1993

Best Animal Finds

1 signed Tony the Tiger Baseball
1 map turtle Shell
1 box turtle Shell
1 Deer Antler
1 Jaw Bone

St. Charles Cleanup Results

Photo album on Flickr

Total Volunteers: 150

  • River Relief Crew: 24
  • Boats: 7  (4 Missouri River Relief, 2 Missouri Dept. of Conservation, 1 Army Corps of Engineers)
  • River Miles Cleaned: 6 (MM 32.5 – MM 26.5)
  • River Stage: 13-ft. @ St. Charles gauge
  • Landfill: 1.8 tons
  • Scrap Metal: estimated 0.3 tons (metal was stolen before weighed)
  • Tires: 108 - 2 tons

Total Trash Tonnage: 4.1 tons

Groups Participating: The Missouri River Relief Crew, MO Dept. of Conservation, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ameristar, ALF Campers, Commons Lane Elementary School - Stream Steam #3362, St. Phillips Church, Project HEART – Willows Way, Walmart - Store #1265 & 2600, Sierra Club, Missouri American Water, Cub Scout Pack 971, Clean Stream Crusaders, Starbucks, Evrest

Fun Team Names: River Raiders, Nothings, Lego Otters, River Otters, Friends, ALF, Willows, Operation Irony, Team Melissa, Smooth Operators, Team Green Stream Clean, Cardinals, The Ball Team, River Savers

A Big Muddy Thank You To Our Event Sponsors:

Event Partners

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MRR is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Federal Tax ID (EIN) 03-0425187
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