St. Joseph Missouri River Cleanup 2012

French Bottom Boat Ramp - St. Joseph, MO
Saturday, October 6th, 2012

We were so excited to come back to this historic river town!  It's been since 2010!  Despite a chilling drop in temperatures and sunshine, 125 brave volunteers came out to give back to the river.

This was Missouri River Relief's 3rd cleanup in the St. Joe area.  Together with our community clean-up partners and volunteers, we were able to remove 6.9 tons of trash from the banks of the river!

Volunteers working together on the banks of the Missouri River.. and Iron Man! Photo by Rachel from St. Joseph.

It has been 2 years since we helped clean the river in St. Joe, and with 1 major flood in the mix from 2011, we weren't sure how much trash we would find.  Sadly, we found a ton.  Well, I guess 7 tons actually.  Highways are built right alongside the river, with lots of railroads, and pockets of land for a walking trail and riverfront park, the river is surrounded.  So what we were actually finding was highway refuse, trash littered from well used beaches and fishing accesses, illegal dumps and abandoned homeless camps.  We prayed for a great turnout so that we could get all of this junk off of the river. 

Well, if the sun had just come out, we might have seen over 270 volunteers like in 2010.  But after a freezing night hovering in the 30s, a stiff breeze and no sunshine in the early morning, we were just amazed that 125 brave souls showed up to get out on the river!  Brrrr!!! ...and clean the river they did!  Just check out the amazing trash tally below!

Morning scene of crew and operators prepping the boats for volunteers to be ferried out to their trash spots. 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 each boat load started to trickle back in, much to everyone's relief, the lunch that was kindly being provided by the St. Jo Frontier Casino had been moved inside!  It was like heaven.  What a treat.  On top of that, we had a wonderful trash contest MC'd by our own Steve Schnarr, followed by a captivating river "love" story by story teller and Ozark songstress, Maridith Sisco!

Story teller and Ozark songstress, Maridith Sisco. Photo by John Wood.

We got all warmed up - no actually Meredith got us fired up - and we went back out to finish hauling in the trash from the river that we learned was really our life blood, every bit a part of us.  Everything was smooth sailing after lunch, and we had an incredible clean-up and weekend in St. Joe!

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

A huge thanks to Scott, Thomas, Darby and Jason, the Mo. Dept. of Conservation biologists that brought their boats to help shuttle volunteers and to MDC employee T.J. Peacher for bringing an ATV and trailer to help haul trash by land.  Many thanks & praises to Ron Gillette from St. Joseph Parks for running the back hoe used to get trash from our boats to the dumpsters.  And to our local ambassadors, Ken Reeder, John Wood and Herbie O'Keefe.

Thanks to Rachel and Michael Beck for shooting many of these great photos. Click here to see their work!

To read more stories about the St. Joe Missouri River clean-up and see more photos from the event, check out our blog and photos on Flickr!

Trash Tally:

126 Bags of Trash! And...

52 Tires
1 Refrigerator
1 Freon Tank
1 Air Compressor Tank
1 Gas Stove in pieces
1 Gas Stove
1 Furnace
1 Perfect Toilet
1 Chunk O’ Styrofoam
2 – 5 gallon Plastic Buckets
3 ½ - 55 gallon Metal Drums
5 – 55 gallon Plastic Barrels
2 Plastic Waste Baskets
5 Mattresses
1 Crib Mattress
3 Box Springs
1 Bed Frame
1 Couch
7 Chairs
1 Plastic Crate
1 Exhaust Pipe
1 insulated Angle Bar
2 rolls of Carpet
1 Board
1 Spool End
20 feet of Snow Fence
19 Metal Pipes
1 Fishing Rod prop
8 pieces of Rebar
2 Fence Posts
1 Paint Can
1 Metal Shelf in pieces
1 Metal Table Top
1 Cable Wire
15 pieces of Scrap Metal
2 Gusset Beams
1 Cable Support
2 ½ TV’s
1 Stereo Speaker
1 Sleeping Bag
5 Tarps
1 Tent
2 inflatable Swimming Pools
1 Vacuum Cleaner
1 Car Grill
1 Tennis Shoe
1 plush Yellow Duck


Trash Contest Entries!!!!

Weirdest Trash
1 Nintendo Gun
1 Plastic Wishbone dog chew toy
1 Creepy Naked Baby Doll
1 Toothbrush
1 part to an Electric Car
1 purple Transformers Magnet

Biggest Trash
1 Boat Bumper
1 Bedframe
1 Couch
1 Barrel
1 Center Console to a Car with cup holders

Most Fashionable
1 pink zebra striped women’s Briefs
1 nice Watch – Wilson’s Glow in the Dark
1 leopard print Cat House
1 old Leather Satchel
1 white strappy baby sandel
1 Hoop Earing

Most Artistic
1 Ceramic Painted Dish
1 CD still in the wrapper “The 4 Most Important Things I Know” by Pastor Brian Zahnd with the Word of Life Church in St. Joe, MO
1 Ceramic Pepper Shaker

Oldest Trash
Several old Glass Bottles
1 old Christian Brothers – California Glass Bottle with iridescent liquid
1 piece of Pumice with Raccoon Pawprint

Most Useful
1 Towel from Heartland Health Hospital
1 Bottle with Cork Stopper
1 Cat Scratch Post
1 Flashlight that still works
1 Basket Ball
1 tall metal 4-ft. Candle Holder
1 Plastic Spatula
1 Fishing Pole

Best Animal Finds
1 Snake Skin
1 Deer Skull
1 Spray Can of Bug Killer

St. Joseph Cleanup Results

Photo album on Flickr

"Area Volunteers Help Clean Up the Missouri River" - KQ-2 TV

Total Volunteers: 125

  • Volunteers signed in: 103
  • River Relief Crew: 22
  • Boats: 7 (4 MRR, 3 MDC)
  • River Miles Cleaned: 8 (MM 454 – MM 446)
  • River Stage: 5.6-ft. @ St. Joseph gauge
  • Landfill: 3.05 tons
  • Scrap Metal: 3.01 tons
  • Tires: 52 - 0.83 tons

Total Trash Tonnage: 6.9 tons

Groups Participating: Missouri River Relief Crew, Missouri Master Naturalists - Loess Hills Chapter, Cub Scouts Webelos Pack 17, Cub Scout Webelos Pack 219, Boy Scout Troop 219, Venture Crew #6, Buchanan County Juvenile Authority, St. Joseph Parks and Recreation & Public Works, Rachel Beck Photography, Remington Nature Center, River R. Reeder Foundation, Missouri Dept. of Conservation, St. Jo Frontier Casino

Fun Team Names: Iron Man, Gate, 219, Beast Mode, Mud Ducks, River Monsters, Major Major, Crew 6

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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