The Kishwaukee River is running a little cleaner this weekend after volunteers rolled up their pants and removed bags of debris from her banks.
Volunteers battled the Kishwaukee River’s strong currents Saturday afternoon. All day long they worked to collect trash and trim branches from fallen trees that have blocked the rivers mouth. It was a face-lift for a river that has become some people's trashcan.
Crews were not able to get everything though like a mattress and some tires. That will have to be collected at a later time. The cleanup spanned 4 miles along the Kishwaukee banks, from Belvidere to the distillery conservation area in Boone County.
Some volunteers used canoes. While others got their feet wet and walked down the river to pickup everything from pop bottles to plastic toys. Every canoe collected at least one garbage bag full of litter. Some items like a sled and metal wire were surprising catches for volunteers who are used to catching fish instead of other people's junk.
Volunteer worker Tom Lindblade says, “It's a shame that people think they can just throw things into the river and then that ends up on some of these beautiful banks.”
Nearly 20 people participated in cleaning up this portion of the Kishwaukee River, collecting nearly 100 pounds of trash. Weather permitting, they say they plan to do it all over again Sunday.