On Saturday, April 18th, over 3,500 volunteers joined Milwaukee Riverkeeper for the 20th annual Spring River Cleanup. The volunteers cleaned riverbanks at 50 sites along the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic Rivers and their tributaries. This included a group of 12 Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Milwaukee who cleaned a section of the Milwaukee River near Riverside University High School, just north of the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum. In total, 31 volunteers collected about 80 bags of trash from around the school!
“Every year volunteers do such a great job pulling trash out of our rivers,” said Cheryl Nenn, Riverkeeper at Milwaukee Riverkeeper. “It’s important to remember that trash not only effects water quality, but also detracts from the natural flow and function of the rivers. Trash can affect water clarity, temperature, and reduce the ability of plants to photosynthesize.”
This year, volunteers filled more than 5,000 bags and removed 70,000 pounds of trash and debris from area streams and rivers at sites located from Kewaskum to South Milwaukee and west to Brookfield. The trash can be interesting: from a box of live baby bunnies (safely released into the wild) to a TV with a crayfish living in it, this year was no exception. Volunteers also found a stolen wallet and a lost cell phone, and were able to return both to the original owners!
For 20 years, Milwaukee Riverkeeper has served as an advocate and voice for the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic Rivers. Their mission is to advocate for water quality, riparian wildlife habitat, and sound land management in the Milwaukee, Menomonee, and Kinnickinnic River Watersheds. Milwaukee Riverkeeper envisions a future in which people from all walks of life will be able to enjoy the healthy waterways of the Milwaukee River Basin. Milwaukee Riverkeeper is a licensed by the Waterkeeper Alliance, a network with over 240 organizations worldwide dedicated to protecting our waterways. The RCM Community Trust made a donation of $1,000 to Milwaukee Riverkeeper to sponsor the 2015 Spring River Cleanup. Rotarian Mustafa Emir serves on the Riverkeeper Board of Directors as president.
Thanks to all who participated in the cleanup and are helping Milwaukee Riverkeeper to create fishable, swimmable rivers!