"So...Many...Straws!"

Shift 2 - Big Muddy Clean Sweep

Alligator Cove & Sibley/Fort Osage - 8/25-8/30

Miles covered: mm346 - mm335

Post by Alyssa Thomas, Stewardship Americorps

Trash:

  • Bags accumulated: 114
  • Tires: 10 of various sorts
  • 1 fridge, 1 deep freezer, 1 mini fridge
  • Over 500 straws
Over 500 straws were picked up from one small stretch of river. Photo by Melanie Cheney

Volunteers:

  • Shift crew: 6
  • 8/28-day crew: 7
  • 8/28 volunteers: 9 (7 from Bass Pro Shops)

Highlights:

  • Moving from "Roger's Point" sandbar to Alligator Cove
  • Scouting on the way
  • Watching barges go by/ sand dredge half a mile downstream from camp
  • Crew cleanups on rack piles on 8/26-8/27
  • 7 crew joined us for cleanup 8/28- brought us food and helped with community cleanup
  • 9 volunteers on 8/28- see trash results (mm340.5-mm337.5)
  • 8/29- trash haul and picked up big items

Shift Summary:

After baking in the sun for several days, it was so great to arrive at Alligator Cove, thanks to our board member, Bill Fessler! This amazing little oasis has one of the best views of the river and all the shade we need. At sunset, the logs that float in from the current into the eddy look like alligators swimming around in the water, hence the nickname. A sand dredge was moored just downstream, providing us a front-row seat to watch barges go back and forth. We called this home from September 25-30.

The trash caught in driftwood piles just downstream of Kansas City is astonishing. To see these places cleaned up is inspiring. Photo by Alyssa Thomas.

The first day on the shift, we moved our fleet and belongings to Alligator Cove, scouting the river for trash along the way. Over the next two days, we went back to those areas and found overwhelming trash traps full of cups, oil bottles, and straws. So many straws. Our crew worked many hours each day to pull out as much garbage as we could. After cleaning up on Friday we brought our haul to the dumpster at the Sibley Boat Ramp and prepped our boats for our community cleanup the next day. As a crew of 6, we collected 70 bags of trash!

This group of volunteers, mostly employees of the Independence Bass Pro Shops store, was small and very mighty. Photo by Alyssa Thomas.

On Saturday, we had 7 additional crew volunteers join us for the cleanup lightening the load and even bringing us amazing food! Thank you, Melanie, Kris and Doris for the tasty treats! 16 volunteers showed up at 9:00 am, including 7 from Bass Pro Shops. 3 boats went out with volunteers to pick up trash along the river from mile marker 340.5-337.5. After the cleanup we enjoyed a lazy afternoon of recovery before doing another small cleanup and hauling all the trash to Sibley once again. Our haul count totaled 44 bags of trash!

Some spots were best cleaned up by canoe. Photo by Alyssa Thomas.

Adding up our efforts throughout this stretch, we collected 114 bags of trash, 10 tires of various sizes, 12 5-gallon buckets, 3 coolers, a refrigerator, deep cooler, and even a water bed! We are constantly surprised at what we find on the river! Now our crew is cleaning and packing up our gear, getting ready for a bitter-sweet goodbye as we move on down to Lexington.

The sweet shade of Alligator Cove. Photo by Melanie Cheney
Matt Britt from Boonville, MO, is one of the Clean Sweep Core Crew. He's been a River Relief volunteer for years, but also has a hobby of paddling local creeks and picking up trash. He's a crucial part of the Clean Sweep team. Although he's a really experienced paddler, he's pretty new to the motorboat thing and is learning fast. Photo by Alyssa Thomas.

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