Professor, students to lead 12-mile community effort in April
FAYETTE, Iowa (Feb. 6, 2007) – Upper Iowa University announced receipt of a grant from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to support cleanup of 12 miles of the Volga River near Fayette in April. The University’s community project will use the money to recycle debris cleared from the river – including a large gasoline supply tank deposited at "Big Rock" during a 1999 flood that left Fayette and Clayton Counties declared as federal disaster areas.
Assistant Professor of Geosciences Katherine McCarville says the $900 Community Leaders Enhancing Area Rivers grant award is one of many steps toward the April 11 and 14 work days on the Volga River celebrating Upper Iowa’s sesquicentennial and post-Earth Day, respectively.
"The Big Rock cleanup aims to improve a site with special significance to the community of Fayette and Upper Iowa University," said McCarville, who serves as the cleanup project director. "Upper Iowa students have helped with more than a dozen Volga cleanups in recent years, but this time we’re inviting many more community partners to help. River cleanup events involve a lot of work, but everyone who participates gains a feeling of accomplishment and ends up having a lot of fun, too."
Landowners along the Volga River are among the most important partners in this project, according to McCarville, because many miles of the river bank are on private land.
"We don’t know yet what kind of debris is out there," said McCarville. "We want to work closely with landowners to obtain access to private land for our planning and work. In return, landowners can benefit by receiving tremendous help in clearing out flood debris and other garbage from their land along the river."
Two, one-day river cleanups are planned. On Fayette Appreciate Day, Wednesday, April 11, students and others will clean the Volga River from Klock’s Island to Big Rock. On Saturday, April 14, Upper Iowa, Take A Kid Outdoors and other community members will clean the remainder of the 12-mile project – from M Avenue to Klock’s Island and from Big Rock to the Volga River State Recreation Area campground.
Meanwhile, Upper Iowa students majoring in conservation management, environmental science and agricultural business will be involved in planning and coordinating the project. They plan to collect and inventory all trash removed, depositing it at a public location where the outcome can be seen and appreciated.
"This project will bring together many people who care about the Volga River," said McCarville. "I’m glad to help Upper Iowa University lead this cooperative effort to make a positive impact on the quality of life in our area."
McCarville invites people and organizations interested in contributing to the project to call her at 563-425-5233 to learn more.