By Anne Marie Amacher
DAVENPORT — Around 1,500 volunteers spent Saturday morning, Aug. 22, cleaning up debris from along the Mississippi River and various creeks throughout the Quad-City area in the annual Xstream Cleanup.
There were 45 sites spread throughout Davenport, Bettendorf, LeClaire and Durant in Iowa, and East Moline, Moline, Rock Island, Hampton, Silvis and Campbell’s Island in Illinois. More than 180,000 pounds of garbage was collected.
A group of volunteers from St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Davenport met at the Enchanted Inn near the Interstate 280 bridge in Davenport to work with dozens of others in the cleanup effort.
Lynn Leming, co-youth ministry coordinator at St. Paul’s, brought a group of 35 youth and adult volunteers to the cleanup.
Jerry Skalak and his son, Andrew, along with family friend, Dwight Mills, looked forward to the cleanup.
“It’s a great idea Chad (Pregracke) had to do these cleanups,” said Jerry Skalak. While Pregracke has led river cleanup efforts for more than a decade, he launched the Xstream Cleanup in 2004 as an effort to clean up the river beyond Davenport and Bettendorf.
Skalak said he and his family are firm supporters of cleaning up the river. “We like to spend time along the river and don’t like the litter or garbage.”
He said he has been helping with river cleanup for at least six years and does other cleanup projects through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Andrew said he enjoys helping out and has been doing the cleanup “a really long time.”
The Klauer family of St. Paul’s, also participating in this year’s Xstream Cleanup, had done so two years ago at the same meeting site. Greg and Kat Klauer and their children, Emerald, Sienna and C.J., find it beneficial.
“We like to do volunteer work individually and as a family. We also like to do things outdoors,” said Kat Klauer. “This meets both of our needs.”
Emerald said the fun part is “getting dirty. It shows how much work you did by how dirty you got.” C.J. said you find all sorts of “weird stuff” in the cleanups.
Goeff Manis, crew leader for Living Lands & Water, which sponsored the Xstream Cleanup, said the organization Pregracke founded has been cleaning up the Mississippi River for 12 years.
Two options were offered for this year’s participants at the Enchanted Inn. One group donned life vests and piled into boats to head across the Mississippi to an area called Milan Bottoms. This site has been part of the cleanup since it started. “We’re making progress.”
Others chose to be part of the land crew, which picked up debris left in the area from last year’s flooding.
Kat Klauer and Julie Delaney, another St. Paul parishioner and principal at St. Paul the Apostle School, stayed land side. They and about 25 others took bags and plastic grabbers and headed down South Concord Street. They worked in the wooded areas up to the south end of Nahant Marsh and over to the next residence.
Walking through poison ivy and lots of weeds, the group crossed a creek by walking on a fallen tree. They picked up aluminum cans, plastic containers and glass. One volunteer found a car battery. Another found a T-shirt.
You never know what you’re going to find, said Delaney, who has participated in the cleanup before.
Erin Robinson, communications coordinator for the Waste Commission of Scott County, provided the preliminary numbers from last weekend’s cleanup: 4,015 bags of garbage, 17 appliances, 4,234 tires, 32 bikes, five televisions, nine mattresses and 28 pieces of furniture.