Saturday, September 20, 2008

Happy International Coastal Cleanup Day!

To celebrate the event, I went after some of the oversized debris that I've inventoried over the past year in the metro Mississippi River (our adoption site 3 with the Adopt-a-River program). By the end of the day, I had gathered 885 pounds worth of crud (actual weight, not an estimate). The materiel was recovered along a 1.2-mile stretch of the river, between the I-694 bridget and 57th Avenue north on the west bank of the river... which is under the jurisdiction of the Three Rivers Park District.

Because of the geotrashing work we had done by kayak earlier this year, this recovery effort seemed very efficient; it took only about 6 hours, even though I was working alone. (The tools provided to us this year by Joe Rauscher at Joe's Sporting Goods have proven immensely helpful in preparing for this kind of work.) Because of the water-borne planning I had done, I knew exactly where I was going, and exactly what kind of tools I was going to need to hoist these items out of the muck, up some very long, steep banks.

Among the items recovered: A culvert, two safes (one with six bullet holes, and the other apparently cut open with an acetalene torch). two compressors with their chemical contents intact, various car parts (one tire on-the-rim, one fender), construction material, some scrap iron and a bike. (Click on the images to enlarge any photo here.)

Previous to this weekend, we had recovered 328 pounds of junk from the St. Croix River, as well as the Mississippi, bringing our season total to 1,218 pounds (so far). Not too bad under some trying circumstances this year.

Julie and I still have a few more trips planned before ice-up, including a sweep of the Osceola backwaters on the St. Croix River (our last attempt was rained out), a few walking trips on the Mississippi, and additional geo-tagging as weather allows. If you're interested in joining us, just drop me an email.

Two additional items worth noting from this weeks' efforts.

  1. First, only one item went into a dumpster (a wood-framed screen door). Having made plans with material handlers in advance, everything else recovered today can and will be recycled.

  2. Second... I captured some of the challenges of this project on video, and will use that footage to create some documentary content for this blog site this winter, when the on-water season is over. (I grabbed some similar footage on the St. Croix two weeks ago.)
  3. It has been a good day on the Mississippi. Now, there is the matter of some laundry that needs to be done.

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