By Tami Stark

After spending Friday worrying about the weather and getting all of the supplies ready, the R.A.T.S. started off early on Saturday, August 5th, with beautiful skies and lots of smiles. After 7.5 hours on the water, the Cedar River R.A.T.S. wrapped up their 9th clean up project on the Benton County banks of the Cedar River.

Over 42 volunteers took to the water in boats, canoes and kayaks as well helping on the ground with transporting vehicles/trailers, putting lunch together and sorting the treasures brought in. There were some familiar faces that have been with us since the first project and there were some new faces that wanted to see how they could help.

Over 42 volunteers took to the water in boats, canoes and kayaks as well helping on the ground with transporting vehicles/trailers, putting lunch together and sorting the treasures brought in. There were some familiar faces that have been with us since the first project and there were some new faces that wanted to see how they could help. 

The group stopped for lunch, albeit with a slightly ‘staggered’ schedule, at Patten’s campground where they were met by our ‘landsharks’ who took the trash and debris from the boats/kayaks and sorted it into the appropriate trash/recycling containers. The metal was collected by Benton County Recycling, the trash went into a dumptruck provided by Schoonover Tuckpointing and put into a dumpster provided by Kurt’s Enterprises to be taken down to Benton Co. Landfill. The river crew managed to pull 11 tires from the Cedar and those were taken to Schoettmer Tire.

What was the most interesting find? That’s a matter of opinion. Let’s say the most “surprising” find was a very old, yet still floating, pontoon. This had floated up into the banks when the water was high, and was identified by the Benton Co. Conservation a bit prior to the clean up, so they, along with a group of R.A.T.S. volunteers were able to pull it out of the brush and tow it all the way down to the river bridge to be cut into scrap ~ but not before the entire crew used it as a barge to haul debris down the river. To me, the most ‘interesting’ find was clear glass light bulb, 100% intact. I can only imagine the story it could tell about how it ended up in the Cedar and remained unbroken.

In retrospect, this was another extremely successful clean up and I want to thank everyone that made this possible in any way. I wish I could list everyone individually, but time and space prohibit that! I will share the stories or your volunteerism and generosity every chance I can between now and the 2018 clean up! If you have more questions about the 2017 clean up, or would like to talk about the 2018 project, feel free to call me @ 319-558-7476.