Friends of Pool 9 preparing for annual river cleanup

Hearty volunteers walked both sides of the Highway 82 dike from the Lansing Bridge to the Winneshiek Bridge for the Friends of Pool 9 River Clean-Up event last year. They collected over fifty bags of garbage from the two three-mile long sides of the road in 2014. The group has earned the respect of FOP9 Cleanup organizers since this is one of the most difficult and grueling tasks during the day’s activities. Submitted photo.

As the weather turns warm and the first signs of spring arrive, users of the river begin to think about the river and the annual Friends of Pool 9 river clean up. FOP9 Board members have selected Saturday, April 18 as the date of this years clean up event.  The earlier date was selected to allow high school students from area schools (Waukon, Lansing, and De Soto) to be involved, since the date doesn’t conflict with their high school prom weekend.  
In case of high water or threatening weather, May 1 has been selected as the alternate date. Organizers will locate backwater debris and assign boats (and volunteers) to each collection site.
Boat owners and volunteers should contact Bruce ReVoir (563-568-7358), Natalie Baugher (538-4287), Brent Darling (538-4489), Bob Henkel (538-4864), Al Wuennecke (544-4929), Lisa Welsh (538-4686), Jerry Boardman (563-419-7968), Larry Quamme (608-734-9077), Mark Schneden (608-412-04830, Bob Seeley (563-568-7713), or John Verdon (538-4836) if they are willing to make their boat available for the clean up and/or volunteer for the day.
Boats and volunteers should gather at the VFW building in Lansing at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, April 18.  Boats will also gather in New Albin (Al Wuennecke at 608-790-8842), Ferryville (Larry Quamme 920-948-2245), Lynxville (Mark Schneden at 608-874-4478), at Hetyman’s Landing (Sam Miller 319-269-6805) and Black Hawk Park.
Gloves, garbage bags, water, a free T-shirt, and a lunch will be provided to all volunteers.
Dumpsters will again be located at Lansing, Black Hawk Park, and Ferryville, with an IA DNR truck at Visgers Landing or New Albin Army Road Landing, if water level allows.
Since 2004 (the first year of an organized clean up) volunteers have collected over 100,000 pounds of debris from the river corridor and accumulated more than 6,000 hours of volunteer time to the Friends of Pool 9 and the Upper Mississippi River Refuge in their clean up efforts.  While users of the resource are more informed today and the river is getting cleaner, it’s still important that volunteers continue their annual vigil to remove debris deposited during the spring flood, as well as that left behind along  roadsides and on area beaches by careless users.