Friends of Pool 9 postpones River Clean-Up but rejuvenates beach areas

Volunteers paid in full ... Volunteers enjoyed a grilled pork sandwich as payment for their labors during the Friends of Pool 9 beach clean-up, compliments of City Meat Market of New Albin and Blake Schoh of S & S Rentals. Sitting in the above photo, left to right, are Jerry Boardman, Bob Henkel, Don Lathrop, Wayne Dowell. Standing, left to right, are Jacob Walleser, Bruce ReVoir, Dick Roeder, Lori Salzbrenner, Steve Dowell, Bob Seeley, Chandler Quirk, John Verdon. Not pictured Blake Schoh and Greg Stirn. Submitted photo.

Cleaning up and providing firewood ... Friends of Pool 9 volunteers Jerry Boardman and Don Lathrop (left to right) cut up a tree on the Hummingbird Island beach near River Mile 666 north of Lansing as part of the Tuesday, June 25 beach clean-up effort by Friends of Pool 9. Wood was piled along the beach near fire rings for camper use this summer. Submitted photo.

At its June 17 meeting, the Friends of Pool 9 Board of Directors decided to postpone the group’s Annual River Clean-Up of Pool 9 until September of this year. High water this spring during the usual annual clean-up time forced postponement of the event in the interest of safety and effectiveness.

However, Friends of Pool 9 did conduct a major fire ring and beach clean-up that took place Tuesday, June 25. Many of the 23 fire rings placed on area beaches from Lansing to Black Hawk Park in Pool 9 needed to be dug out and re-set after this spring’s high water. They had been under water for three months and the sand on the down slope side of the fire ring had washed away. Blake Schoh was the designated coordinator for the beach cleaning activity to keep the beaches clean and accessible for campers.

Permanent fire rings on the beaches are designed to keep the fire pit in one place so it can be cleaned periodically by Friends of Pool 9 volunteers. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has approved the location of the 23 fire rings in Pool 9. Campers should burn only wood products in the fire ring; they are not to be used for the burning of trash. Friends of Pool 9 supports the “Leave No Trace” motto: “if you bring it to the beach, take it with you when you leave, and leave the beach better than you found it.”

The 14 Friends of Pool 9 volunteers who took part in the beach clean-up also removed downed trees that were blocking and limiting use of the beach areas. Wood was left for camper use during the summer season. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service guidelines allow campers to collect branches from downed trees but do not allow standing trees to be cut.

Kevin Quillin of Waukon has assumed the role of chairman of the fire ring maintenance committee to clean and monitor fire ring use. He is asking for area volunteers to “adopt” a fire ring for the summer season and clean it periodically. He can be contacted at 563-568-9334 and will give volunteers a map showing location of the rings. Volunteers will receive gloves and garbage bags to help in the removal of trash from the fire rings.

“It was an exceptional day on the river,” Friends of Pool 9 volunteers shared. “We also collected a boat load of barrels, 100 pounds of rusted barge cable and three bags of trash. This is what Friends of Pool 9 is all about, being a good role model and taking care of our little part of the world.”

While the Annual River Clean-Up has had to be placed on hold from spring to this fall, other plans are being made by Friends of Pool 9 to have a Genoa National Fish Hatchery “Mussel & Sturgeon” display, as well as the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Fisheries Truck display during Lansing Fish Days Saturday, August 10. Raffle tickets with cash back prizes for the Friends of Pool 9 Annual Meeting in September will also be available during Lansing Fish Days.

“Thanks to all the dedicated members of Friends of Pool 9 that give of their time and energy to make Pool 9 of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge one of the best on the river,” Friends of Pool 9 volunteers commented. “Enjoy your Independence Day on the river.”

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