Omaha/Council Bluffs Cleanup 2011

Lewis & Clark Landing and Marina - Omaha, NE
Saturday, April 30th, 2011

We hadn't made a trip to the Omaha/Council Bluffs area since 2007, so it was due for a big clean-up. When we got a call last fall from Bob Toy, an employee at Union Pacific Railroad, wondering if he could work on a clean-up with us, we decided we were coming back.

After months of planning (followed by weeks of the high river unravelling our planning), the game was on. 94 volunteers showed up that day and removed an amazing 5.83 tons of junk from the riverbanks.

Once we arrived in town, we set up camp on the grounds of the beautiful Western Trails Center. Friday morning we met up at Lewis and Clark Landing for a brief river inspection tour with the mayors from Council Bluffs and Omaha as well as Colonel Robert Ruch from the Army Corps of Engineers.

Volunteers headed out to their trash site on the Missouri River with one of our agency partners. Photo by Steve Schnarr.

94 volunteers arrived Saturday morning to hop on boats and hit the river to remove 5.5 tons of trash from the river. We were helped by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission and US Coast Guard who all brought boats to haul volunteers.

In Omaha, we find that a lot of the trash we recover is from abandoned camps - many of which were destroyed during the 2010 flood event.

Volunteers slowly drag an old loveseat to the trash pile. We find just about anything on the Missouri River! Photo by Vicki Richmond.

One group from ConAgra Foods worked by land in the floodplain near the Western Trails Center. They had a huge pile by the time they were done! The Gallup Green Team found some of the coolest trash treasures (a toy gun and some beautiful bottles) while a River Relief crew attacked what we were calling the "Mansion Camp" - a massive tent structure destroyed by last year's flood that was strewn throughout the riparian forest.

After lunch, everyone gathered for the Trash Contest. There were a bunch of great entries. The winner of the "Best Darn Find of the Day" was a ConAgra employee who came in with a big plastic angel. He let us keep it, so we're refitting it with lights and will be mounting it on our riverside clubhouse, the Club Medfly.

Best find! A light up plastic angel decoration. Photo by Vicki Richmond.

This clean-up was the first in a string of several "upriver" clean-ups Missouri River Relief hosted and participated in during the next several weeks. Following the Omaha event, we headed up to help on a project on the Missouri National Recreational River near Vermillion, then split our efforts on a clean-up in Yankton, SD, and the tri-state Siouxland area.

Trash Tally:

148 Bags of Trash
44 Tires
37 Chunks of Styrofoam
10 – 5 gallon Plastic Buckets
3 – 30 gallon Metal Drums
2 – 55 gallon Plastic Barrels
5 Coolers
2 Lids
1 Bicycle Wheel
1 Smoker Lid
1 plush Monkey
1 embroidered Pillow
4 Camp Stoves
1 Dog Crate
1 Microwave
1 Oven Door
12 pieces of Carpet
1 Boxspring
½ of a Couch
6 ½ Chairs
2 Shopping Carts
2 Propane Tanks
1 Car Battery
1 Hammer
2 Hatchets
1 Dog Crate
7 Rubbermaid Tubs
1 Car Bench Seat
1 Tin Roof
1 Vent
20 bags of Shingles
Duct Work
1 Bird Cage
1 Colgate Toothpaste Tube
enough Clothes for 3 outfits
3 Strollers
1 Tennis Racket
1 Frying Pan
1 High-heeled Shoe
1 TV Screen
1 Tool Box
1 Suitcase
1 Stadium Seat
1 Spongebob
1 Snorkel
1 Saw Blade
11 Tents
20 Tarps
4 Sleeping Bags
50 ft of Rebar
1 Shovel
145 Poles
200 feet of Cable with the copper stripped out
1 Welder’s Hammer
1 unopened bag of Fruity Pebbles
1 Toy Gun
1 plastic light-up Angel
1 Railroad Spike
1 Baby Doll, no head
1 leopard patterned Bench Topper
1 rusty Bell
1 rusty Chain
1 GPS Cache, Kitty in a Bottle
1 palm-sized ceramic Flower Plate
2 little glass Perfume Bottles
1 women’s 1920s Hat
1 rusty Electric Razor
1 Lunch Box/Cooler
1 home-made Bow and Arrow
1 home-made Fishing Pole

Cleanup Results

Photo album on Flickr

River Notes Blog

In the News:

Total Volunteers: 94

  • Volunteers signed in: 76
  • River Relief Crew: 18
  • Boats: 8 (4 MRR, 2 Nebraska Game & Parks, 1 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1 U.S. Coast Guard)
  • River Miles Cleaned: 6
  • River Stage: 25-ft. @ Omaha gauge
  • Landfill: 3.96 tons
  • Scrap Metal: 1.1 tons
  • Tires: 44 - 0.77 tons

Total Trash Tonnage: 5.83 tons

Groups Participating: ConAgra Foods, Lamp Rynearson & Associates, Gallup Green Team, Stalnacker MC, Union Pacific Railroad, Nebraska Game & Parks, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Coast Guard, National Park Service, Coram Deo Church, Council Bluffs Public Works, River Town String Band

Fun Team Names: The River Dogs, Blue Flamingos, MRR Tiger Team, The Shingles, Team Awesome, Team Tardy

A Big Muddy Thank You To Our Event Sponsors:

Event Partners

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