The Clean Sweep: "Back-to-Back Cleanups"

"Back-to-Back Cleanups" - Shift 9 and 10 of the Big Muddy Clean Sweep

Moniteau Creek Confluence and Cooper's Landing - Monday, 10/11 - Saturday, 10/16/2021

By Alyssa Thomas


  • 10/11- Cleanup out of Rocheport with general volunteers and Master Naturalists, Alyssa’s parents cook us food!
  • 10/12- Cleanup out of Rocheport with general volunteers, big trash haul day!
  • 10/13- Windy weather and preparing for move to Columbia area, Carrie Elliot and her son bring us food!
  • 10/14- Moved to boat ramp just downstream of California Island, Lynn Malley brings us food!
  • 10/15- Cleanup/Education Event with Job Point, awesome lunch prepared by Job Point!
  • 10/16- Packed up camp, organized at boat yard, said our goodbyes

Hunkering around the fire and fueling ourselves with fuel after a long day on the cold river! Photo by Lynn DeCapo.

Shift Summary:

We started Monday morning (10/11) with our volunteer cleanup made up mostly with Master Naturalist volunteers! Although it had rained all night, we still had a great turnout! Everyone was in great spirits and ready to pick up trash. The weather worked out perfect in our favor! The rain had stayed away, even bringing some sunshine until the cleanup ended. We had found excellent spots full of trash, but we didn’t notice on our scout was the crazy number of tires! We had 3 boats go out to different spots, and each location had at least 10 tires pulled out from the tree line just above the bank. At one Since the rain was still scattered throughout the day and all our trash had to be hauled to the Franklin Island boat ramp, we decided to hold off on the trash haul until after our cleanup the next day. Later that evening, my mother and father volunteered to bring out a meal! Thank you, Jeff and Leah!

A group photo with all our volunteers after our cleanup out of Rocheport on Oct. 12! Photo by Kevin Tosie.

Our second cleanup in Rocheport had a great turnout as well! We headed downstream yet again to set up for the Tuesday cleanup (10/12). We brought 3 boats out yet again to the other sites that we scouted, and found plenty of trash. A handful of our volunteers that day were from Odell Brewing Co., who was one of our sponsors for our Omaha Cleanup back in May. The group informed us and the rest of the volunteers that they had donated a keg to International Tap House and that the proceeds would go the Missouri River Relief! At the end, we made sure to take a victorious photo with all the volunteers.

After the volunteers left, we got to work on the trash hauls. We had all hands and boats on deck to get all the trash upstream to the Franklin Island boat ramp. We even had one volunteer offer to tag along to help out! Thanks, Tom! Our grand total for the 2 cleanups came up to be 95 bags of trash, 63 tires, and 4 semi-truck tires! David Owens had stayed back to man the camp and prepare an amazing fire-cooked meal for us. Thank you so much, David!

We had decided to stay on the same sandbar for one more day since there was a storm rolling in very early that Wednesday morning (10/13). We prepped the camp for high wind gusts and waited out the worst of the storm. After the rain dissipated, we went out to pick up more trash! The crew had collected 19 more bags of trash, 5 mineral tubs, 3 large chunks of Styrofoam, and 3 tires! We also did some running around to prepare to move our fleet and vehicles downstream near Cooper’s Landing the next day. Carrie Elliot and her son Colin came out and brought us a great meal! It was so much fun going through trivia with Colin, who has countries from all over the world and their capitals memorized!

We started Shift 10 with moving camp downstream around noon (10/14). We refueled and then set up camp just downstream of California Island, and about 6 miles upstream from Cooper’s Landing. We enjoyed a great warm meal from Lynn Malley before heading to bed early in preparations for our last cleanup event the next morning. Thank you, Lynn!

The next morning (10/15) the crew headed downstream to Cooper’s Landing to prepare for our last event with Job Point! In addition to cleaning up, we also tied in an opportunity for the volunteers to learn how to catfish and assist in a mural painting with Wildy’s World! The cloudy overcast made for a chilly day, but everyone had a great time finding a couple refrigerators in addition to the trash, catching fish, and painting the beautiful riverfront! The Job Point staff also prepared a fish fry, served with spaghetti and coleslaw!


Saturday morning (10/16), we were welcomed with sunny, yet an extremely chilly breeze. We hunkered around the fire and cooked breakfast over it. We then took our time taking camp down, then headed back to Cooper’s Landing to pull out the boats. We had people at the boat ramp greeting and congratulating us for the completion of the project! One of our hardcore crew members, Laurie, had brought us a cake that we enjoyed as we put everything away at the boat yard. A bittersweet goodbye, we all slowly went on our way.

Thank you to everyone for the support throughout the Big Muddy Clean Sweep! Whether it was volunteering as crew, coming out to the community cleanups, or bringing us food, we appreciated it all so much! The overwhelming support was heartwarming and every bit made the project go smoother. It was an amazing experience to say the least! I can speak for the Clean Sweep core crew that we came back better as humans than when we started in the beginning, and maybe even a little stronger from all the trash haulin’!

Stretch Results:

  • Miles: mm 176-168 (8 miles)
  • Volunteers:
    • Shift crew: 7
    • 10/11 volunteers: 20
    • 10/12 volunteers: 19
    • 10/15 volunteers: Job Point Event
  • Trash:
    • Bags: 104
    • Tires:
      • w/rim: 63
      • w/o rim: 2
      • truck: 4
      • 4-wheeler tires: 2
    • Refrigerators: 4
    • Other finds: 3 5-gallon buckets, 7 mineral tubs, tv, suitcase, flower pot, grass seed spreader, propane tanks, 30 ft. cable, danger sign, couch cushion, 2 fenders, 12 ft. culvert pipe, fire extinguisher, truck tire flap, artificial Christmas tree

Close-up of the cake that Laurie brought for us! It reads, "Congratulations Big Muddy Clean Sweep 2021". Photo by Steve Schnarr.

The Big Muddy Clean Sweep Core Crew

The Clean Sweep Core Crew was Kevin Tosie, Alyssa Thomas, Matt Britt, Linda Coffman, Steve Olson and Banjo. We had a tremendous amount of help from Steve Schnarr, John Brady, and Rob Nix behind the scenes that were much appreciated.

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