Flint Hills Resources employees, their family members and friends recently joined over 300 other volunteers from across Iowa and the Midwest to paddle the Maquoketa River picking up trash and helping protect and restore Iowa’s water resources. This is the seventh year Flint Hills Resources has supported the Project A.W.A.R.E. environmental cleanup effort which stands for “A Watershed Awareness River Expedition.”
The five-day, 63-mile trek down the Maquoketa River in Delaware, Jones and Jackson counties brought together volunteers from all over the Midwest to aid in this year’s cleanup effort. Volunteers paddled canoes and removed trash including tires, plastic bottles, aluminum cans, refrigerators, car parts and old farming equipment. Along the way, volunteers also learned valuable lessons about Iowa’s water resources.
“Our rivers, lakes and streams are important parts of Iowa’s natural landscape and heritage,” said Mike Kloth, health and safety CSO for Flint Hills Resources. “We are happy to support the annual Project A.W.A.R.E. river cleanup and do our part to help preserve and restore Iowa’s waterways so that future generations can access and enjoy them for years to come.”
Project A.W.A.R.E. is coordinated by N-Compass, an all-volunteer non-profit committed to promoting environmental education and citizen engagement through natural resource conservation activities like the annual Project A.W.A.R.E. river cleanup. N-Compass was founded by former Iowa Department of Natural Resources employees who had been involved with the program for several years when the cleanup effort was organized by the agency.
According to N-Compass, a total of 20.78 tons of trash (41,550 lbs.) was removed from the river during the five-day cleanup effort, including 224 tires, 11.27 tons (22,550 lbs.) of scrap metal, 14.31 tons (28,610 lbs.) of recyclable material (cardboard, glass, plastic) and additional various trash items. Approximately 69 percent of the trash and other materials recovered was recyclable.