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Osage River Dump Cleanup - The Rest of the Story
Midwest Region, April 2, 2008
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Volunteers from day one pause for a photo in front of just one of the many dumsters of trash and scrap metal pulled from the banks of the Osage river.
Volunteers from day one pause for a photo in front of just one of the many dumsters of trash and scrap metal pulled from the banks of the Osage river. - Photo Credit: n/a

Accolades to the efforts of 18 Missouri River Relief workers and the 94 volunteers that showed up to help clean a “decades old” dump site along the Osage River.  In a day and a half, 13.2 tons of scrap iron, 5.5 tons of garbage, 79 tires and a page long list of odds and ends were removed from a half mile stretch of riverbank…and they only scratched the surface.  The details of this monumental feat, which kicked off the 2008 river relief efforts, can be read on their website www.riverrelief.org.  However, I would like to enlighten you with how this effort came about.

In the last river cleanup event of 2007 at Bonnets Mill, I posed a challenge to the leadership of this organization.  Chad Pregracke, founder of Living Lands and Waters, the outfit that gave rise to River Relief, was in town for this event.  This presented the opportunity to “speak to the boss” about a mountain of garbage. I have passed by the unsightly dump while working and recreating on the lower Osage many times and knew Steve Schnarr and his Missouri River crew would welcome a challenge.  They toured the damage of 50 plus years of dumping through a crack in a 100 foot tall bluff.  The field crews in our office spend countless hours on the Missouri river and her tributaries and pretty much know where these landmark dumps are located.  Biologist Patty Hermann worked that event and guided these scrap sniffers to the spot.  This dump turned out to be the largest congregation of garbage we’ve yet to find on the banks of a river in Mid Missouri.  Steve and representatives of River Relief ensued in organizing 17 local organizations to include the “Osage River Navy” (an organization of local river enthusiasts), the U.S. Army Reserve’s 480th Preventive Medicine Detachment and recruiting the help of area residents to make this event a success.


Contact Info: Jeff Finley, 573 234-2132 x .171, jeff_finley@fws.gov



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