St. Charles Missouri River Cleanup 2020

September 18 - 20, 2020
Lewis & Clark Boat House & Museum

This was Missouri River Relief’s first clean-up with volunteers since the pandemic started and things certainly looked a bit different. Historically, our clean-ups in the St. Louis area draw more than 200 volunteers, all eager to hop onto boats and clean the banks of this beautiful river. However, because of our robust internal COVID policies to keep our staff and volunteers safe, our capacity was greatly reduced. Instead, a small but mighty group of dedicated volunteers over 3 days helped us achieve what we normally accomplish with over 200 volunteers on one day. While it breaks our hearts that we could not open up this opportunity to our entire river family, the groups that we had were so inspiring and hardworking that by the end of the first day we knew we were right where we needed to be. Volunteer groups from Arnold Stream Team 211, League of Watershed Guardians, Boeing, Brentwood High School, Odell Brewing and the St. Louis Aquarium Foundation channeled the force of 200 volunteers and knocked it out of the park. Over the course of 3 days, 53 volunteers collected over 166 bags of trash, 58 tires and 1.4 tons of scrap metal, totaling 5.4 TONS of trash removed from the river.

A volunteer group from Boeing arrives back to shore with a boatload of trash

One silver lining of this modified cleanup was that since volunteer numbers were kept low, we were able to work more closely with our volunteers and get down and muddy with the best of ‘em. Each group was independent of one another, allowing for more time on the river and even having lunch on the bank. As the volunteers returned, so did their collected trash. We saw everything from a washed-up port-a-potty to an entire 16’ john boat. The usual chunks of styrofoam to a motorcycle helmet with a bullet hole in it! The entire gambit.

Racin' Dave and folks from the League of Watershed Guardians work to excavate a washed up boat.

Start to finish, Missouri River Relief spent 6 beautiful days at the Lewis & Clark Boat House and Museum camping along the river. Each morning and afternoon consisted of backbreaking work, but the evenings were spent enjoying each other’s company and the absolutely fabulous weather. Cicadas, crackling campfires and stories from the day’s work were the soundtrack to our evenings. Our hearts, stomachs and trash bins were left full and we can’t wait until the next one.

Another full dumpster after a hard week's work

Trash Tally

166 Bags Trash!! Plus…

58 tires
35-gallon fish pond
25-lb tub
1.4 tons of scrap metal
2 sand boxes
2 bicycles
11 chunks of styrofoam
4 coolers
2 5-gallon plastic buckets
10 55-gallon plastic barrels
1 refrigerator
2 refrigerator doors
100-ft. of barge line
Plastic toy box
Tungsten box
1 tent
1 port-a-potty
2 HTPE pipes
Semi-trailer mud flap
Gear box – antique
Chrome trim
Car bumper
16-ft. john boat
5 sheets of corrugated roof
1 rusted come along
1 large traffic cone
Heavy-duty trailer loading ramp
5 big rolls of landscaping fabric
1 motorcycle helmet with bullet hole
1 push lawnmower
20-ft. conduit pipe with wire
3 green mesh bags full of broken glass
Turtle shell sand box

St. Charles Missouri River Cleanup

Check out the amazing photos on Facebook and Flickr!

Check out our news coverage of the event:

"Total Volunteers: 53

  • Volunteers signed in: 31
  • River Relief Crew: 22
  • Boats: 5 MRR Boats
  • River Miles Cleaned: 10 (MM24 - MM34)
  • River Stage: 11.6-ft. @ St. Charles Gauge
  • Landfill: 2.8 tons
  • Scrap Metal: 1.4 tons
  • Recyclables: 0.8 tons
  • Tires: 58 - 0.76 ton

Total Trash Tonnage: 5.4 tons!

Groups Participating: Boeing, REI, Brentwood High School, St. Louis Aquarium Foundation, Arnold Stream Team 211, League of Watershed Guardians – Stream Team #5168

A Big Muddy Thank You To Our Event Sponsors:

"Great Blue Heron" Event Sponsors

Rio Vista Foundation

Missouri American Water

"Paddlefish" Event Sponsor

Missouri Department of ConservationDepartment of Natural Resourcesst louis jefferson solid waste

"Paddlefish" Event Sponsor

In-Kind Sponsors

Budget DumpsterMissouri Stream Team

Event Partners

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