St. Joseph Missouri River Cleanup 2024

Tons of Trash
Tons of Tires

French Bottom River Access, St. Joseph, Missouri
Saturday, May 18, 2024

It was a warm and muddy river day in St. Joseph for our Missouri River cleanup! A total of 136 volunteers joined us out of the French Bottom access and Remington Nature Center to remove an estimated 2.8 tons of trash from 11.5 miles of river! A big shout out to the St. Joseph community for their support to make this cleanup day such a success.

Crew returning with a load of trash. Photo by Tom Stevens.

Wednesday afternoon, our crew and event staff arrived to set up camp headquarters, and the rest of crew joined throughout the day Thursday, enjoying a sunset cruise to thank our crew for joining our efforts in St. Joseph’s reach of the Missouri River.

Friday morning was the trash scout! We were joined by Community Missions and Stormwater Protection to scout the banks of the river for areas of high-density trash. The scout teams swept 12 miles of riverbank from the French Bottom river access. Sites that contained trash and were safe for general volunteers were marked on maps by our dispatch team to be used for communication to our boat operators on cleanup day.

The Trash Scout is a muddy job too! Our Race Director, Taby Lane posing on the boat's bow. Photo by Lynn DeCapo.

Saturday couldn’t have had a better turnout for weather! 108 volunteers signed in Saturday morning for a day of stewardship. Groups listened to orientation, where they were given an excellent talk about St. Joseph’s reach of the Missouri River by Sarah Elder of Remington Nature Center. After a safety briefing, volunteers got suited up for life jackets to board a boat operated by MRR’s experienced operators and MDC Conservation Agents or put on a reflective vest to join the cleanup efforts on land led by Beautify St. Joseph!

Cleanup team Orange Lederhosen ready to get out on the river! Photo by Alyssa Thomas.

After volunteers returned from picking up trash, lunch from Hy-Vee was ready for them to enjoy along the riverfront. Volunteers brought back various trash treasures to be entered into our lively trash contest. MRR activities Clean Rivers Start at Home and the MO River Explorer Badge Program were also set up for volunteers to participate in. Remington Nature Center was nearby for volunteers to explore as well. It was wonderful seeing everyone enjoy their afternoon by the river with us!

Youngster working to obtain their MO River Explorer Badge with a water color activity. Photo by Alyssa Thomas.

MRR crew regrouped to head back out on the Missouri River to pull off the trash accumulated on the banks. Trash returned to the access by the boat load, and trucks collected the trash from the land efforts. As the trash made its way to the 40-cubic yard dumpster provided by the City of St. Joseph, our partners from Missouri River Bird Observatory conducted a plastic brand audit, where data is submitted to Break Free From Plastics.

Boats filled with trash are pulled up to the dumpster for offloading. Photo by Sabrina Davenport.

An estimated 2.8 tons of trash was pulled off the Missouri River and its banks, and we couldn’t be more thankful to our sponsors and partners that helped make our efforts possible in St. Joseph, MO!  

Check out our trash tally from the cleanup below!

Best find of the day: Darth Vader mask! Photo by Steve Schnarr.

Trash Tally:

150 bags of trash
4 tires with rim
10 tires w/o rim
2 55-gal metal drums
3 55-gal plastic barrels
4 lawn chairs
1 couch
1 leather recliner
1 heavy mattress
5 5-gal buckets
Love seat
Rebar mesh
Parts of a dock
3 blankets
5 large carpets
Storage tub
Foam mat
Large Sign
3 metal pipes
Street lamp
Large Tarp
Mud flap for semi-trucks
Gas tank
5 square channel tubes
Bucket o’ bolts
Milk crate o’ trash
100ft. metal flex conduit
Metal basket
Fridge door
Freezer door
Crisper door
2 mini fridges
2 camp chairs
Floatation device arm
Milk crate
Floral tote
Big Pallet
Lots of wood chunks
Boat seat
Seat cushion
infant rattler toy
squishy sonic the hedgehog toy
Toy Story Character
1 ft. rusty metal Christmas tree
mannequin arm
Fishing Pole
Sign post
Bike frame
Sharp metal pieces
4x8 plywood
car bumper with light still in tact
4 chunks of Styrofoam
door knob and lock hole
nerf gun bullet
unopened gold tin can
3 coolers
Wet foam
Fan grill
House siding
Window frame
Plastic chair
Darth Vader Mask
Golf club
large golf ball
Early 1900's post card
Fleece pants
Heavy mattress
6” culvert pipe
License plate
Home Phone
1-burner stove
Right handed mit
video game controller
drinking glass
3 feed tubs
Dock float
jars and bottles of various sorts
mini rabbit statue
various animal bones
stuffed turtle toy

St. Joseph Cleanup Results

  • Volunteers signed in: 108
  • River Relief Crew: 28
  • Boats: 8 (5 MRR | 3 MDC)
  • River Miles Cleaned: 11.5 (MM456.5– MM 445)
  • River Stage: 10.3-ft. @ St. Joseph gauge
  • Landfill: 2.63 tons
  • Scrap Metal: N/A
  • Tires: 14 - 0.17 tons

Total Trash Tonnage: 2.8

Groups Participating: Stream Teams 4260 and 6243, Beautify St. Joseph, City of St. Joseph, Sustainable Environment Advisory Committee, Water Protection, St. Jo Frontier Casino, Al J Mueller Construction, MO Master Naturalists of Loess Hills, 139th AW of Rosecrans, St. Joe Grow Native

Fun Team Names: Spunky Salamanders, Mueller Light, Trash Boat, Community Mission, PEG, Salty Water Dogs, Private Citizens, Fab 5, Kool Kats, Pokémon, Orange Lederhosen

A Big Muddy Thank You To Our Event Sponsors:

"Captain" Event Sponsors

"Pilot" Event Sponsor

Missouri American Water

"Engineer" Event Sponsor

Missouri Department of Conservation

"Deckhand" Event Sponsor

Your logo could be here!

In-Kind Sponsors

Hy-VeeRiver R. Reeder Foundation

Event Partners

Beautify St. JosephCity of St. Joseph
Sustainable Environment Advisory Committee of St. Joseph
Tube's Bike Shop
Community Missions

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MRR is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Federal Tax ID (EIN) 03-0425187
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