LIMA — The Lima community came together Saturday for the 26th annual Ottawa River Cleanup.
The cleanup was a collaboration between Lima-Allen County Neighborhoods in Partnership, the City of Lima, the Ottawa River Coalition, Keep Allen County Beautiful, Omnisource and Rumpke, the former Wright Refuse, the city’s trash hauler.
“We just want to clean up the river and make our streams more beautiful so as people are walking along the riverbanks, they can just enjoy some good scenery, take a little bit more pride in our community this way and keep the trash from getting to the ocean,” said Jessie Roark, president of LACNIP.
The event was delayed twice this year due to heavy rains.
“All of that rain this spring kept us from being able to do anything, so we would rather be safe than sorry,” Roark said.
Last year the event brought in plenty of trash.
“Urbanized areas, places where people live the most in our county, certainly make a lot of litter pressure on water resources, like the Ottawa River and the creeks and streams that feed it. So for us to get out there and remove this litter before wind and rainfall can move it into the stream is huge. We normally, on a river cleanup in the spring, remove at least 10 tons of material along about 10 miles of stream. That’s about 20 bank miles,” said Beth Seibert, coordinator of the Ottawa River Coalition.
This year, turnout was only about 175 volunteers. Even with fewer people volunteering, organizers were happy with the people who did come out.
“This event is really important. It’s one of the biggest volunteer events that we do,” said said Autumn Swanson, neighborhood specialist for the City of Lima. “Last year we had close to 600 people out here, which is awesome. But the biggest thing is just to watch the community come together and just see how much camaraderie. Everybody gets excited about cleaning up the river.”
Lima Mayor David Berger voiced his support of Saturday’s cleanup.
“The community deserves our attention, and the river, in particular, I think, has become a focus of the community in a way that we can all appreciate,” Berge said. “So we appreciate everybody being here and doing their part to make the community look better and the environment improved.”
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409