Volunteers will soon have the opportunity to work as aquatic garbage collectors, cleaning up more than 90 miles of the Iowa River. It’s part of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Project AWARE, which stands for A Watershed Awareness River Expedition.

Project director Brian Soenen says the stretch of the river between Dows and Marshalltown is a bit shallow for canoes, but they’ll make it work. “Lower than normal water on a cleanup is generally a good thing as it allows you to see more trash on the stream banks,” Soenen says.

“We don’t want it too low so it becomes a hike rather that a paddle because we won’t be able to cover as many miles with as much enthusiasm as we could bring otherwise.” Besides muscling trash out of the river, participants will learn about watersheds, water quality and recycling during evening presentations.

“Project AWARE is more than just river cleanup,” Soenen says. “It’s more than just what happens during the day, of course, the volunteers are camping each evening and we schedule programs for people in the community who don’t come for the cleanup so they can come for the educational programs.”

This is the tenth year for the project. The event runs July 7th through the 14th. Soenen says registration is not required to attend the evening programs, but is required for volunteers. He says tent camping is free and a limited amount of canoes are available for those who need them.

Learn more at: www.iowaprojectaware.com.