Volunteers are needed for the annual Missouri River/Lake Sharpe Cleanup scheduled for Wednesday, July 10. The cleanup will be based out of Downs Marina in Griffin Park from 5 to 8 p.m. Teams of volunteers, in boats and land-based crews, will pick up litter and debris along the river. The trash will be brought to Down’s Marina, sorted and disposed of by the City of Pierre.

Since the cleanup began in 2009, over 19 tons of trash has been collected by more than 600 volunteers. This event gives people the chance to give something back to a resource that means so much to the quality of life in central South Dakota.

“Despite high releases from Oahe Dam, last year’s event went very well. The volunteers collected over 1.3 tons of trash in less than three hours from the face of the dam to Farm Island,” said Paul Lepisto, regional conservation coordinator. “This year we’ll again be dealing with high releases from Oahe. We’ll have to adjust and make sure we send people to areas where they can be successful to enable them to make a difference for the river.”

“I’m always amazed at the passion the volunteers have for the Missouri River at the cleanups. It’s very obvious the river means a great deal to them and their families. People that help want the river to look good and be a healthy place for fish and wildlife and a more enjoyable place to recreate,” Lepisto said.

If volunteering to help, wear closed toed footwear and bring sunscreen, insect repellant and sunglasses. Pre-register, or show up in Griffin Park starting at 4:30 on Wednesday, July 10. Volunteers will be offered a free picnic supper in the park following the cleanup.

The Missouri River/Lake Sharpe Cleanup is coordinated by the Pierre Chapter of the Izaak Walton League; South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks; Fish and Wildlife Service; Army Corps of Engineers; Department of Corrections; the cities of Pierre and Fort Pierre; and the Pierre Young Professionals. Many area businesses and organizations also contribute to the annual effort.

Boats and pontoons are needed for the cleanup. For more information, to provide your boat or pontoon, or to donate to the 2019 Missouri River/Lake Sharpe Cleanup, contact Paul Lepisto with the Izaak Walton League at 220-1219 or plepisto@iwla.org, or Bret Afdahl at 222-2972 or bafdahl@hotmail.com.

Photos of past cleanups available upon request

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