MIAMI COUNTY — An armada of canoes and kayaks moved down the Great Miami River on Friday, sweeping everything it its path.
The armada, spearheaded by the Miami Soil and Water Conservation District, was part of the 2014 Clean Sweep of the Great Miami River Watershed event.
Friday’s event began just below the dam in Piqua with teams of canoeists paddling their way downstream, searching for track and debris, loading it into their canoe and delivering the items to drop-off points, where county and township workers waited with tractors and dump trucks to haul the trash away.
Linda Raterman, public relations specialist for the Miami Soil and Water Conservation District said, in addition to keeping the waterway clean, organizers hope that participants will “be inspired to help keep it clean.”
Raterman said, that some items got into the river due to “big rain events” of recent months.
Still, much of the trash is deliberately thrown into the water.
“Just be aware,” Raterman said, “there are places for your trash. There is no need to, under cover of darkness, go down to the stream bank and unload something.”
A number of local agencies lend a helping hand with the river cleanup. In addition to the MSWCD, the Miami County Park District plays a significant role, as do Concord Township, the City of Troy and City of Piqua, and the Miami County Sanitary Engineer and Engineer’s Office.
The heart of the cleanup effort is the volunteers. Raterman said, “We usually get, in Miami County, in this section, around 80 volunteers. Each year has shown an increase in volunteers and participation.”
The Friday cleanup, swept the river from Piqua to Treasure Island in Troy where participants took a break for lunch and continued south to Tipp-Elizabeth Road.
The Piqua Protect Our Water Ways river cleanup will take place today as volunteers take to the river north of the city and clean south to the dam.