River Clean Up still set to collect debris, beautify environment

Participants could aim to beat longstanding record
Local volunteers take part in Great River Mississippi Cleanup
Last year, 204 volunteers gathered 12,660 pounds of trash from in and along the river.

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — Hundreds of volunteers are expected to fan out by land and by sea to collect litter from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, May 9, when the annual Mississippi River Clean Up La Crosse strives to beat a longstanding record in collecting debris.
The 27th annual event will operate with safety guidelines, including the fact that there won’t be an after party, to take into account the COVID-19 pandemic. Other safety measures include asking volunteers to work alone or just with members of their immediate households.
River CleanupNearly 5,200 volunteers have collected almost 700,000 pounds of debris in the annual sweeps, with the apparent record still being 2011, when 229 volunteers pulled 22,060 pounds of trash from the water and riverbanks. The second-highest amount came in 2015, when 183 volunteers gathered 15,920 pounds of trash and litter. The trash included 2,594 barrels to be recycled and 1,689 tires recycled.

Organizers hope people who have been cooped up under Safer at Home restrictions will take the chance to get out and enjoy the fresh air in a positive endeavor.

Dumpsters will be ready and a River Clean Up representative will be stationed at designated Mississippi River landings.
Volunteers must pre-register at the River Clean Up website, and then check in at one of the following landings on the appointed day:

  • Clinton Street West Landing
  • Seventh Street Landing
  • Goose Island West Landing
  • Fred Funk Landing on Brice Prairie.

Volunteers will receive trash bags and gloves, then move out on the water, along shorelines and through neighborhood streets near the river.
In cooperation with the La Crosse County health and sheriff’s departments, River Clean Up organizers settled on the following restrictions to ensure a safer and more sanitized environment for volunteers:

  • No walk-up registrations. Participants who do not pre-register should allow an additional 10 minutes at the landing to register by phone.
  • No more than two River Clean Up representatives will be at each landing and wear masks at all times, as recommended the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. Volunteers also are asked to wear masks.
  • River Clean Up representatives and volunteers must abide by the 6-foot social distancing CDC guidelines.
  • Each landing will be stocked with sanitizer for volunteers.

Gloves and trash bags will be available for all volunteers, but volunteers also are encouraged to bring bags and gloves from home if they want.
More information also is available on the River Clean Up Facebook page.