Humboldt sups discuss river project


DAKOTA CITY – The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors learned on Monday that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources plans to clean up a portion of the Des Moines River.

Seth Zimmerman, with the University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory, discussed the A Watershed Awareness River Expedition program.

“Every year we do a river cleanup in a different part of the state, and this year we are doing the Des Moines River from Algona down past Lehigh, about 90 miles,” Zimmerman said.

AWARE was founded in 2002 through the DNR’s volunteer water quality monitoring program.

Since the program’s founding, more than 2,500 volunteers have cleaned up more than 786 miles of river throughout the state, removing more than 250 tons of trash, 70 percent of which has been recycled. Over the years the program has had about 800 sponsors.

Between 120 to 160 volunteers a day are involved in the cleanup. They canoe the river and gather trash, which is picked up at the end of the day.

“We have found just about anything you can imagine,” Zimmerman said

That includes motorcycles, snowmobiles and, last year, more than 1,200 tires in the Iowa River.

The volunteers will camp overnight in area parks and there will be educational programs open to the public, Zimmerman said.

“We get a lot of repeat volunteers year after year,” he said.

There will be about 60 to 80 canoes covering up to 17 miles a day on the river. People can come out for a day or for the entire week. There is a safety presentation at the start of every day. They will be in the Humboldt area July 8-11.