About two dozen volunteers collected trash along rivers and creeks in Dubuque County Saturday. Julia Rodewald (ROHD-walled) was at the John Deere Marsh, just along the Mississippi River, near the John Deere Dubuque Works.

“We found lots of like bottles, plastic water bottles and then like cans and then some cigarette butts,” Rodewald says.

But they also recovered what are called sediment traps. The traps are made of cloth and are used in landscaping projects or at construction sites to keep soil in place — but Rodewald says they found sediment traps at the marsh, with vegetation sprouting from the cloth.

“They’re supposed to break down, but these weren’t breaking down,” Rodewald says.

The goal of the project was to keep trash out of the Mississippi River Watershed. Rodewald is with Green Iowa AmeriCorps, a program based at the University of Northern Iowa, and she is one of the organization’s land and water stewards.

This weekend’s Dubuque County Conservation clean-up effort also had volunteers at two sites near the North Fork of the Maquoketa River. One was at Westside Park in Dyersville and the other was in Cascade, along the Riverfront Trail.

In July, a week-long volunteer effort called Iowa Project AWARE will pull trash from the West Fork of the Des Moines River. Canoes will embark from Wallingford in Emmet County on July 10th and end 61 miles downstream, at West Bend in Palo Alto County on July 15th.