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River Relief

Updates Entry

2011 Mid-Year Results

• 1000 Students & Teachers  •  600 Volunteers  •  31 Rivermiles
•  21 Tons of Trash  •  7 Big Muddy Speakers Series  •
•  9 Educational Booths  •  3 Watershed Festivals  •
•  1 Wild & Scenic Film Festival  •  1 Aerial Trash Scout  •

River Trip with Douglass Highschool Students 5-18-11

These are just a few of Missouri River Relief's accomplishments from throughout the year.  As we celebrate River Relief's 10th Anniversary this year, despite major flooding, we have been packing it in!  Jump on board as we continue the journey, working on 10 years of good, clean trashy fun!

The whole world is watching as the Missouri River ravages floodplains and levees with unprecedented high flows. A combination of snowfall and rain events in the upper basin have filled the waterway to the brim and beyond, resulting in consequences that are both tragic and expensive.

In the greater scheme of things, the impacts on River Relief have been inconsequential—mainly an inconvenience due to postponed events planned for the summer. Once again, we propose our plans and the Missouri River disposes with them. Fortunately, we were able to successfully complete cleanups and educational field trips this spring ahead of the flooding (see our mid-year results report).

One of many highlights was the opportunity to conduct a pre-cleanup boat tour of the Missouri River for the mayors of Omaha and Council Bluffs along with the commander of the Omaha District, Army Corps of Engineers.

Omaha-Council Bluffs Missouri River Clean-up 4-30-11

photo by Dave Stous

As our thoughts and prayers go toward our friends who are facing the challenges of high water levels and flooding, we also have reached out to emergency management agencies, levee districts and farming communities to let them know that we have boats, crews and equipment to help with flood-relief efforts. At the same time, we’re using this period to repair and outfit our fleet of boats and vehicles in preparation to start cleaning up when the river recedes.

The uncertainty on the river has resulted in a change of plans this fall for our Big Muddy Clean Sweep with a chartered barge and towboat. The River Relief Board of Directors voted last week to begin the barge voyage in mid-Missouri at the end of September to allow the river more time to subside. We still plan to conduct a river cleanup in Kansas City on Sept. 10 but we’ll use waste bins there instead of the garbage barge.

I encourage you to check our website to keep up with changing conditions and our updated calendar for the barge-based Big Muddy Clean Sweep.
Living Lands & Waters Barge
On behalf of River Relief, let me express gratitude for your support. We’re proud that you’ve seen the value of bringing people together on the river to make a visible and lasting difference in their communities.

See you on the river,

Jeff Barrow, director
Missouri River Relief

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