Omaha/Council Bluffs Missouri River Cleanup 2013

Riverfront Marina at the Lewis & Clark Landing - Omaha, NE
Saturday, September 7th, 2013

This was Missouri River Relief's 5th clean-up in the Omaha area.  Last year we enjoyed a fun and successful clean-up after the monumental flooding, now known as the "Great Flood of 2011"

Together with our community clean-up partners and volunteers like you, a great combination of first time river cleaners and old Omaha clean-up pros hit the river to remove litter, flood debris, fisherman trash and abandoned camps from the floodplain and river banks.

Our dispatch loading volunteers onto the boats, where experienced MRR operators, along with help from Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and US Army Corps of Engineers, bring groups to pre-scouted trash spots. Photo by Paul Lepisto.

248 volunteers showed up on a super hot day and promptly helped remove nearly 3 tons of junk from the banks of the river despite the forecast.  18 of those volunteers were from the Mutual of Omaha and Gallup, who came out a few days early to work an associates clean-up with us.

With help of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers boats, we got everyone out on the river in about an hour and a half.  Supplied with trash bags, shovels, plenty of water and their gloved hands, we cleaned up about 11 miles of the river.

Thank you to all the volunteers who came out for a day of stewardship! Photo by Steve Schnarr

Several groups spent all morning directly across the river under the pedestrian bridge, cleaning up refuse from soggy abandoned homeless camps, fisherman & party trash, as well as trash we imagine was thrown from the bridge.  Several groups also attacked the silted in Sandpiper Cover marina to remove nearly 50 huge blocks of stryrofoam from the old boat docks.

After the morning's clean-up, all of the volunteers enjoyed a great lunch donated and prepared by the crew at Sam & Louie's Pizza and Hyvee.  Any local business that donates that many pizzas for the cause are heroes in our book!  We then gathered for an educational presentation by National Park Service interpreter Jennifer Morrell and a hilarious trash contest with the treasures that many of the kids who came out found on the river. You can see the winners and the full trash tally below.

Delicious pizza from Sam and Louie's Pizza and Hyvee! Thank you for supporting us. Photo by Paul Lepisto.

We spent the afternoon hauling all the trash in, including 3 boat loads entirely full of styrofoam.  All of the trash was hauled to a Corps of Engineers barge loaded up with dumpsters.  After the last of it was hauled in, the River Relief crew was treated to a free buffet dinner at Harrah's Casino in Council Bluffs.

Trash hauls included 3 boats full of Styrofoam. Photo by Melanie Cheney. 

Trash Tally:

209 Bags of Trash!
11 Tires
2 Bike Tires
2 pieces of Tire
50 chunks O’ Styrofoam
10 ft of Steel Pipe
1 - 5/8”x18” Masonry Bit
1 Pillow
1 Chest Freezer
2 Rolling Suitcases
1 Ski
1 - 100 gal. Chemical Sprayer Tank
2 Orange Cones
30 ft of Fire Hose
2 Ford Grills
2 IL License Plates
2 sealed 5-gal. Buckets of Petroleum product
2 pieces of Siding
1 large plastic Rubbermaid Lid
2 bags of plastic green Fencing
1 – 10 gal. plastic Storage Container
4 Balloons from the Pedestrian Bridge
4 pieces of Carpet
4 plastic Pipes
1 Chain
1 Exercise Machine
12  ft. of Chain link Fence
50 lbs. of Metal Cable
13 pieces of Scrap Metal
1 Railroad Spike
8 Moldy Blankets
2 Bed Springs
1 Hose Reel w/ Hose
1 Artificial Christmas Tree
1 embroidered Christmas Pillow
1 wet Sleeping Bag
1 T-Post
1 plastic Disc
1 Camp Chair
½ sheet of Plywood

Trash Contest Entries!

category winners in BOLD

Best Darned Find of the Day

1 Life Jacket
1 string of Owl Lights
1 St. Christopher Charm

Wierdest Trash

1 Chair
1 chunk of Obsidian
1 Marker
1 Pepsi Label
1 Fuse Box
1 Ring
1 Poker Chip
1 G.I. Joe Doll
1 Water Bottle
1 Dog Tag “Charlie”
1 Balloon
1 Jump Rope

Best Muddy Ball

1 Golf Ball
1 Soccer Ball
1 Tennis Ball

Most Fashionable

 1 pair of Jeans
1 Leather Belt
1 Yugi-oh Sheet/Cape
1 Black Jacket
1 Huskers T-shirt
1 Vest
1 Blarney Pin
1 Heart Necklace

Most Artistic

1 Green Rabbits Foot
1 Red Flag with Flowers
1 Quartz Crystal
1 Dodge Ram Hood Orniment
1 Notebook
1 Flower Scrunchie

Most Useful

1 Frisbee
1 King Size Sharpie
1 Bumper, Cooler & Electric Box
1 Sweat Band
1 pair of Pliers
1 Police Tape
1 $10 Bill
1 Broken Crutch
1 Gear Lube
1 Mug
1 Travel Bag
1 piece of a Lamp
1 Inhaler
1 can of Vegetable Stew
1 Orange C one
1 Light
1 CD Case
1 Casino Business Card
1 Speaker
1 Sexy Body Spray

Most Likely to be Used as a Weapon

1 plastic Knife
1 plastic Princess Plate
1 braided Rope Whip
1 piece of Scrap Metal
1 twisted Metal Fork

Best Animal Finds

 1 Turkey Feather
1 Shell
1 dead Turtle
1 Goose Head Decoy
1 Duck Head Decoy
1 Bird Wing
1 Jaw Bone

Omaha Cleanup Results

Photo album on Flickr

Photo album on Facebook

Total Volunteers: 248

  • River Relief Crew: 15
  • Boats: 8 (4 MRR, 3 NE Game & Parks, 1 Army Corps)
  • River Miles Cleaned: 11 (MM 623 – MM 612)
  • River Stage: 15.4-ft. @ Omaha gauge
  • Landfill: 2.5 tons
  • Scrap Metal: 0.13 tons
  • Tires: 14 - 0.3 tons

Total Trash Tonnage: 3 tons

Groups Participating: Missouri River Relief, Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service,Back to the River, Constellation Energy, Gallup, Harrah’s Casino, Northern Natural Gas, Mutual of Omaha, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Walmart, Bridgestone “One Team One Planet”, Cabela’s, Hyvee, Iowa Dept. of Transportation, Izaak Walton League, Country Inn & Suites, City of Council Bluffs, City of Omaha, Pottawattamie County Conservation, Remelt Industries, Sam & Louie’s Pizza, Western Historic Trails Center, Waste Management, G4S, Doubletree Hotel, Creighton University Talent Search, LDS Church, Eagle Run Ward, Elkhorn Ward, Espanol, Cub Scout Pack 306, Alpha Phi Alpha

Fun Team Names: River Rescuers, Hard Core Boat, Brain Eating Parasites, Double Tree, Aardvarx, Mud Bugs, Team Alpha, Team Jelly Bean, Bagre (Spanish for Catfish), The Lions, Street Sharks, Team AO, G-Force, Team Flip Flop, Flying Ninja Panda, Screaming Eagles, Tough Mudders, Husker Fans, Trash Boat

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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