The Clearwater Lake Army Corps of Engineers and League of Watershed Guardians have teamed up and are seeking volunteers and sponsors to pitch in for a two-day clean up from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 14-15 on the Black River.
Cleanup day check-in will occur between 7:30 a.m. and 8 a.m. at the Corps of Engineers River Road Campground located just below the Clearwater Lake Dam off Highway HH about six miles from Piedmont.
Volunteers are asked to meet near the river launch ramp. Trash bags for litter will be furnished to all participants at the check-in stations.
Volunteers with canoes or kayaks can bring them to transport their own families and friends. Please bring life jackets with you as they are mandatory while in a boat participating in the cleanup. If you do not have a boat, transportation will be provided to and from various sites along the river and a limited number of canoes and life jackets will be available for use as well thanks to Kemper's Hide-Away Resort.
Arrangements have been made for pick-up of trash left by the volunteers along the shoreline. To facilitate the pick-up, volunteers should leave the bagged trash in conspicuous locations along the river bank close to the water for later collection.
Corps personnel recommend that volunteers wear boots or tennis shoes or shoes that do not have open toes or heels and bring gloves.
Because of safety concerns, a minimum age of 14 years old has been established for those volunteers cleaning up along the river because of where the trash deposits are located and the overall nature of the cleanup.
Dinner will be provided at the end of the cleanup day on Saturday. Free camping will be available on a first-come, first-served basis from Oct. 12 through Oct. 17 for cleanup volunteers. Campsites will be set aside in River Road Park and participants should stop and register at the River Road gate house upon arrival.
The cleanup is necessary because of the spring time flooding that occurred in late April and early May, depositing a large amount of trash into the Black River. The emergency spillway was used for the first time ever, causing significant downstream damage to the Corps' property including a breach in a dump site located below and west of Clearwater Lake dam.
The trash appears to be typical campsite housekeeping trash, mostly from the 1970's and early 80's ... bottles, cans, bags, paper plates, etc.
The Corps of Engineers Clearwater Lake staff has reached out to a group from St. Louis called the League of Watershed Guardians to assist with the coordination and organization of the cleanup effort.
Other agencies such as Missouri Department of Conservation and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources have also been heavily involved with this effort supplying labor, materials, guidance and equipment since the litter issue was first noticed during the flooding in early May.
Any questions or more logistical information can be obtained by stopping by or calling the Corps of Engineers Clearwater Project Office at 573-223-7777.