Catholics help clear 25 tons of debris from Mississippi River

From left, Greg, Kat, C.J., Sienna and Emerald Klauer sit in a boat to head out to the X-Stream Cleanup.

By Anne Marie Amacher

DAVENPORT — Recent flooding of the Mississippi River left plenty of garbage for volunteers participating in the annual X-Stream Cleanup. This year’s event was held Aug. 14 at 42 locations in the Iowa and Illinois Quad-City area.

The event is sponsored by Living Lands and Waters, a nonprofit environmental organization working to protect, preserve and restore the natural environment of the nation’s major rivers and watersheds.

About 1,250 volunteers cleaned up debris along the Mississippi River and various creeks.

Among the volunteers was a group of about 25 from St. Paul the Apostle Parish and School in Davenport. They gathered the morning of Aug. 14 at the Enchanted Inn site, near the Interstate 280 Bridge in Davenport. The volunteers used flat-bottomed boats operated by Living Lands and Waters staff to reach their cleanup site.


The Klauer family — Greg and Kat with their children Emerald, Sienna and C.J. — were among the volunteers. They have participated in the cleanup for three years and are into environmentally friendly projects – including recycling. The X-Stream Cleanup is a favorite because the family can do it together and each member feels that the work they do makes a difference, the Klauers said.

Lynn Leming, co-youth minister and a teacher at St. Paul, said, “As always there was much anticipation and excitement around what treasures we might find. It was muddy and slippery. But this seemed to add to our enthusiasm and sense of accomplishment.”

Among the items the St. Paul families found were a trailer axle, tires and “assorted treasures” such as baby shoes, numerous balls, bottles of all shapes and sizes and an abundance of Styrofoam. That discovery reinforced the Klauer family’s decision to not purchase or use Styrofoam.

According to the X-Stream Cleanup website, the one-day event cleared approximately 50,573 pounds of debris from area waterways and illegal dumping sites. Preliminary totals of items collected included 1,287 bags of trash, 682 tires, 14 appliances, 10 bicycles, 25 pieces of furniture, 13 televisions and 16 mattresses.  Volunteers also collected automotive-related items, home improvement materials, an air conditioner, toilets, various metals, car seats, chain, a swing set, inflatable pool, stroller, farm implements, lawn mower, boats, traffic light and shopping carts.

The cleanups covered 42 locations including Bettendorf, Davenport and LeClaire in Iowa and Campbell’s Island, Milan, Rock Island and Silvis in Illinois.

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