The coordinator of an Iowa Department of Natural Resources river cleanup program is releasing the results of this year’s effort. Brian Soenen with the D.N.R.’s Project Aware says nearly 225 volunteers took part in the campaign July 10-17 along the West and East Nishnabotna Rivers in southwest Iowa.

“Over the course of the week, they covered about 100 miles and picked up just over nine tons of garbage,” Soenen said. The trash removed from the rivers weighed 18,551 pounds. Landfills were able to recycle just over half of the garbage.

Soenen says one of the larger items pulled from the river was an old refrigerator/freezer that was stuck on top of a log jam. Around 15 volunteers trampled through mud to get to the log jam and lift the appliance into a canoe. This was the 8th year for a Project Aware river clean up in Iowa.

Soenen says plans are already underway for next summer’s project. “We’re going to shoot for the same time frame…the week of July 9th through the 16th,” Soenen said. Organizers plan to choose a river and route soon.