Extraordinary Friends of Pool 9 Mississippi River clean up

Weymiller Marine provided the pusher, barge and crane to pull pipes and remove an old dock.  Pictured are (L to R) Donnie Weymiller, Tim Weymiller and Jesse Weymiller (crane operator) as they work to free the dock. ~ Submitted

Weymiller Marine provided the pusher, barge and crane to pull pipes and remove an old dock. Pictured are (L to R) Donnie Weymiller, Tim Weymiller and Jesse Weymiller (crane operator) as they work to free the dock.
~ Submitted

“Unusual circumstances sometimes require extraordinary means,” may well have been the storyline for the annual Friends of Pool 9 clean up of the Mississippi. Approximately 100 willing citizens gathered at the Lansing VFW building, separated into work teams and did all they could do to make the river in Pool 9 a little better. They came from hundreds of miles away, and involved adults and children, Boy Scouts and leaders, mothers and daughters, young and old. A small army descended into the valley intent on making a difference, giving something back to the river. And they did!

Heavy machinery was the necessary ingredient for success this year.  Weymiller Marine was involved in pulling spuds and moving docks; Brennan Construction operated a backhoe; Blake Excavating of Waukon was present with two dump trucks; Jim Kerndt supplied his tractor; and numerous individuals furnished flat bed trailers and chain saws. Old docks and debris were removed from the river shoreline, as were rusted metal and broken plastic barrels, metal gas cylinders, 60 feet of 1 inch cable, styrofoam pieces of all sizes, plastic drink bottles too numerous to count and a crumpled and rusted green buoy.

Todd Blake watches as Jim Brennan adds a piece of broken dock to the cargo of a Blake Excavating dump truck, with Don Peters in the foreground. ~ Submitted

Todd Blake watches as Jim Brennan adds a piece of broken dock to the cargo of a Blake Excavating dump truck, with Don Peters in the foreground.
~ Submitted

The dike across the river valley connecting Iowa and Wisconsin receives more than its share of debris, most from thoughtless highway travelers, but some from boaters and river users as well.  The groups collected hundreds of beer cans and bottles.

The Annual FOP9 Clean Up has garnered supported from individuals, organizations and area businesses. Friends of Pool 9 would like to thank the following: Blake Excavating, Brennan Construction, City Meat Market, Dairyland Power Cooperative, Jim Kerndt tractor, Kwik Star, Lansing VFW, Living Lands and Waters, Milty’s Restaurant, USF&WS McGregor, Waste Management, Welsh’s Village Farm & Home, Weymiller Marine.

President Bruce ReVoir said, “Today’s event would not have been possible without the cooperation and assistance of the area’s big equipment people.  I was stunned by the magnitude of the project and the willingness of everyone to pitch in and get it accomplished. Thanks to all the workers, the food crew, the walkers, the sandbar crew and everyone involved in making it such a success.”

A thousand pounds of metal, four dump truck loads of broken docks, flatbed trailers piled with debris and a filled 40-cubic-yard dumpster gave proof of the waste removed from the river environment. This is an annual event that marks the conscience and mission of Friends of Pool 9, which is to conserve the natural resources in Pool 9 and foster the wise public use and enjoyment of the Mississippi River.  Everyone gave something back to the river this past weekend, and it couldn’t have been accomplished without the 100 volunteers and all the heavy equipment.

The next big event for Friends of Pool 9 is the Mississippi River Adventure Day for kids and parents on July 16. This is a Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn kind of day where “adventure” is the theme.

All costs are paid by FOP9. Kids and parents are transported to the sandbars where activity sites will be organized. Go to the FOP9 website at friendsofpool9.org for more information and an online application.

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