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Volunteers helped clean up the Rock River and its banks during Rock River Sweep

Published: Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013 11:01 a.m. CDT
Caption
Glen Majewski and Rhys Howells went out on the Rock River in a canoe to access the islands and rock piles in the middle of the river to collect trash during the fifth annual Rock River Sweep on Sept. 7. Photo by Chris Johnson
Caption
Trevor Drayton holds a bag open so more trash can be added Sept. 7 during the fifth annual Rock River Sweep in Oregon. Photo by Chris Johnson

More than 35 volunteers turned out Saturday morning to help clean up the Rock River.

The community came together to pick up trash Sept. 7 for the fifth annual Rock River Sweep.

"Every year we seem to pull out quite a bit of debris and garbage and tires," said Mark Nehrkorn, Section Coordinator for the Oregon area. "The debris keeps coming down the river and depositing along the river."

Cleaning the river once a year may not keep the river perfectly clean but Nehrkorn said people can help all year long by not littering and using trash cans.

"We do our little bit every year to keep the river clean," he said.

Every year large items are found but tires seem to be one of the common finds.

Some of the more "unique" items removed this year included a mattress and a garbage disposal.

The river level this year was higher than last year, but volunteers were still able to access the river shoreline.

"The river level has come down since June and once it comes down we see more shoreline," said Nehrkorn. "We can get to quite a few areas today."

Canoers and boaters were also on the river helping with the clean-up.

"The Rock River is such a beautiful asset that makes Ogle County and the Oregon area unique," said Nehrkorn. "We need to do what we can to protect and preserve it."

One group helping out again for the river sweep was Oregon Boy Scout Troop 52.

Trevor Downey jumped at the opportunity to help with the event.

"We are doing river pick ups today and picking up trash with the boy scouts for the river sweep," he said.

One aspect of scouting is volunteering and Downey was enjoying his part in the clean-up.

"Volunteer work is fun, because you get to help the community," he said.

The Rock River is an approximately 285-mile long tributary of the Mississippi. It flows through Wisconsin and into northern Illinois before joining the Mississippi in Rock Island.

In addition to keeping the river clean, this event will also help spread awareness of how important a healthy Rock River is to local communities.

The Oregon Area Rock River Sweep is sponsored by the Oregon Park District, the Ogle County Solid Waste Management Department, the Ogle County Sheriff’s Department and many local concerned citizens.

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