Low Water Levels Show Flood Debris in Cedar River
By Nadia Crow, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Cedar River levels are at their lowest points in five years. That's a perfect opportunity to pull out debris that dates back to the flood of 2008.
Bushes, limbs and shrubs cover the banks of the Cedar River. Monday morning, a dozen AmeriCorps volunteers tried to trim up and beautify these banks. But last week and in the near future, they'll tackle the trash popping up in the low water levels of the Cedar.
"About three or four of us had canoes and we went down right in the river to get some of the debris,” AmeriCorps Volunteer Erin Campbell said.
With the help of volunteers, the Cedar Rapids fire department, and city parks and recs staff, last week crews worked to drag the river.
"Anything you can imagine. Spools of cable, tires, cones from construction,” Daniel Gibbins, Cedar Rapids Parks Superintendent, said.
"Certain things were just on top of the river and you could just pick it up. Other things, we would have to call other people to help us pull it out because things were stuck in there a little bit,” AmeriCorps Volunteer Jennifer Wenzlick said.
But there's still more work to be done. Those driving over the Cedar River can't help but notice what storms blew in or what the 2008 flood swept in, like a rusted, old sign washed up on the banks, a metal barrel nestled into the sandy bottom and trees floating in the shallow waters. City leaders say it's up to you to tell them what you see.
"I had canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts calling me and letting me know where the debris was and that was very helpful," Gibbins said.
But it'll take more than just a few days and a handful of people digging in and dragging stuff out.
Along with river clean-up, the city is also working on other green-friendly projects. You've probably noticed “I Green CR, Do You?” stamps around downtown Cedar Rapids. It's a new initiative to bring awareness to sustainability efforts on city property.
"We've put LED lights in the parkades or upgraded them to fluorescents, or the library is a LED platinum. The tree of five seasons was cleaned environmentally and we're looking to put native prairie grass wherever we can,” Megan Murphy with the City of Cedar Rapids said.
The goal is for you to see those stamps and then go to the city's website to find out what green projects went on at that particular location. Those interested can also find out more about upcoming clean-up projects. There's one on the September 22 where volunteers can meet under the tree of five seasons to help pick up litter along the Cedar River banks.
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