Omaha/Council Bluffs Cleanup 2012

NP Dodge Park - Omaha NE
Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

This was Missouri River Relief's 4th clean-up in the Omaha area.  Last year we enjoyed a fun and successful clean-up just before the monumental flooding, now known as the "Great Flood of 2011". 

Together with our community clean-up partners and volunteers like you, we were able to remove 5.2 tons of trash from the banks of the river!

On Saturday, September 22, over 200 volunteers showed up in full force on a beautiful fall Equinox to help clean up the banks of the Missouri River at NP Dodge Park. 

Volunteer groups gave their team a name and hopped in boats to hit the river, finding massive amounts of junk that had been washed down after last year's flooding. 

Over half of the people I talked to in my boat had never been on the river before, and many didn't really know what to expect, but after educating the volunteers about what we were doing out there, and why it is so important, I sensed that all of the volunteers had a really good time crawling around on the banks of the Big Muddy. 

It takes a real leap of faith to get down & dirty on the Mighty MO and we can't thank Omaha and Council Bluffs sponsors, partners and volunteers (listed on the right) enough for all of the support they showed us while we were in town!

Volunteers waving to the boat, waiting to be picked up to be brought back to the boat ramp. Photo by Steve Schnarr.

After bringing the volunteers back for lunch just a couple hours later, one of the favorite parts of our lunch program is the "Git that Garbage" Trash Contest!  As the volunteers happily finished their pizza, donated by Sam & Louie's Pizza, Jennifer Morrel from the National Park Service gave a great talk about the animals of the Missouri River, and showed some beautiful otter & beaver pelts. 

Then it was time to show off our trash treasures from the day.  We were so happy to see the excitement in the kids eyes as they proudly showed off their animal finds from the morning, and other odd trash treasures.  Check out the entire trash tally below!

Much of the junk recovered was due to the monumental 2011 flood, and the evidence of so many destroyed lives was heartbreaking. But the efforts of all these amazing partners and volunteers was inspiring.  It felt especially good to remove several jugs & containers of hazardous waste from a river that we all share and get our drinking water from.  Great work Omaha!

The trash barge where we off loaded all of the trash was supplied by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, who were a huge help in disposal as well as helping with a boat during the clean-up.

Just one boat load of trash removed from the Missouri River with Mutual of Omaha! Photo by Steve Schnarr.

Nebraska Game and Parks biologists Gerald Mestl and Josh Wilhelm brought their huge boats to help haul volunteers. We couldn't do it without you guys. An extra special thanks to Craig Howell from Mayor Suttle's office - he brought the fantastic Americorps VISTA crew and helped us with so many details. Thanks a ton Craig!

And a super duper thank you to Sam & Louie's Pizza for donating lunch. That was one happy bunch of hungry volunteers.

To read more about the Omaha Missouri River clean-up and see more photos from the event, check out our blog write-up and photos on Flickr!

Trash Tally:

185 Bags of Trash! And...

58 Tires
18 Chunks O’ Styrofoam
3 Coolers
6 – 5 gallon Plastic Buckets
18  - 55 gallon Plastic Barrels
3 – 55 gallon Metal Drums
1 – 25 gallon Metal Drum
3 Refrigerators
1 Refrigerator Door
1 Ice Dispenser
5 Propane Tanks
1 Car Seat
1 ½ Bed Springs
3 ½ Bed Frames
2 Couch Cushions
6 Chairs
1 Picnic Table
4 Counter Tops
2 Chaise Lounge Chairs
1 Car Door
2 Car Mats
5 pieces of Carpet
1 set of Cabinet Doors
20 ft. of plastic Corrugated Roofing
20 ft. of 1 ½ inch Plastic Pipe
2 ½ Doors
30 ft. of Wiring Conduit
1 plastic Step Ladder
1 - 4’x8’ wooden Lattice
1 – 10’x20’ Dock
1 glass Window
2 ft. piece of an I-beam
400 lbs of assorted Metal
120 ft. of 1-inch Cable
100 lbs of Rebar
1 – 5 ft. Pipe
1 – 4ft. Metal Cable
1 BBQ Grill
4 TVs
1 Fishing Pole
1 Tarp
3 – 250 gallon square Plastic Tanks with cage & spout (2 with purple ink type liquid)
1 – 30 gallon Trash Can
1 – 500 gallon Metal Diesel Tank
1 Buoy
1 – 5 gallon Metal Kerosine Can

Trash Contest Entries!!!

(winners in bold)
Biggest Trash:
1 bright blue Chunk O’ Styrofoam
1 part of a Bed Frame
1 fiberglass corrugated Roof

Most Artistic Trash
1 small silver Christmas Ornament
1 tiny glittery Styrofoam Ball
1 Bike Spoke decorated with Plastic Bags
1 Metal Hubcap
½ inch Metal Wire

Wierdest Trash
1 weird looking blond lady Plush Doll
1 Spongebob Wind-up Doll
1 plush Elmo Doll
1 Blow-up Can of Pork & Beans

Most Fashionable Trash
1 dirty Rag
1 grey Tank Top
1 pair of dirty Socks
1 white lacey Bra
1 size-11 High Heel Shoe

Oldest Trash
1 large Light Bulb
1 car window crank Metal Gear
1 – 5 gallon Metal Bucket Lid

Most Useful Trash
1 large Light Bulb
1 Exercise Sign
1 “No Parking” in Picnic Area Sign
1 YMCA “Parking” Sign
1 Basket Ball
1 Soccer Ball
1 Cooler

Best Animal Find
1 Goose Head Decoy
1 Duck Butt Decoy
1 Full Duck Decoy
1 pink Flamingo
1 wooden Pig-shaped Cuttingboard
1 Feather
1 Gar Skin

Best Darned Find of the Day
A 2-headed Dragon

Omaha Cleanup Results

Photo album on Flickr

Photo album on Facebook

St. Louis Post (article)

KMOV4 St. Louis (Live Segment) 

Total Volunteers: 208

  • Volunteers signed in: 193
  • River Relief Crew: 15
  • Boats: 8 (5 MRR, 2 Nebraska Game & Parks, 1 Army Corps of Engineers)
  • River Miles Cleaned: 8 (MM 632 – MM 624)
  • River Stage: 15.42-ft. @ Omaha gauge
  • Landfill: 2.7 tons
  • Scrap Metal: 1.5 tons
  • Tires: 58 - 1 ton

Total Trash Tonnage: 5.2 tons

Groups Participating: Missouri River Relief Crew, Mayor Suttle's Office, Back to the River, Captain Planet Foundation, Constellation Energy, Gallup, Inc., Northern Natural Gas, Sam & Louie's Pizza, Harrah's, Bridgestone "One Team One Planet", City of Council Bluffs, IA, City of Omaha, NE, Country Inn & Suites, Green Omaha Coalition, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, Pottatwattamie County Conservation, Remelt Industries, Waste Management, Big Muddy Urban Farm, G4S, Boy Scout Troop 510, Americorps Vista, Leo Club, LDS Mormon Church, Keep Iowa Beautiful, National Park Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Fun Team Names: River Rats, Griffindoor, King Cobra, Stormin' Mormons, Big Brown, The Saber, Tigers, Slimeballs, Kick Butt, Mudders, Broncos, Asian Carp, G4S, Rip Rap

A Big Muddy Thank You To Our Event Sponsors:

Event Partners

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