Although the amount of trash hauled off the Lake of the Ozark's shoreline is diminishing, the need for volunteers to scour miles of more remote areas has not.
While millions of pounds of trash have been pulled off the shoreline by volunteers who have taken part in the annual cleanup efforts over the last 22 years, there is still plenty to do to reach some of the areas that have not been included in past cleanups and to keep the shoreline free of debris and trash that collects between seasons.
During the 2012 spring cleanup, a record 74 Adopt-the-Shoreline member groups participated in the annual event at the Lake of the Ozarks. They cleaned a record 575 miles of shoreline with 626 volunteers. They removed 1,037 cubic yards of trash and debris weighing 48 tons.
This year marks the 23rd anniversary of the event.
The cleanup will get underway on March 16th and run through April 14.
Ameren Missouri, which sponsors the Adopt-the-Shoreline program, pays for the cost of disposing of the the trash and debris collected. In addition, numerous local organizations and individuals donated boats and other equipment the volunteers needed to make the event successful.
During each cleanup, Ameren's Adopt-the-Shoreline program has been able to put more adopting groups on the water. That allows more miles of shoreline to be included each year, according to Ameren Missouri’s Bryan Vance who coordinates the annual event.
“In 2012, we cleaned the most miles ever, but removed the lightest volume of trash in the history of the program. Many would not consider that a record, but in my book it shows just how clean the Lake is now.”
What used to make up the majority of the trash picked up each spring and fall, the old dock foam is accounting for less and less, he said.
“Having less floatation to remove allows our volunteers to walk many more miles of shoreline and concentrate on the recreational type of debris that accumulates each year,” he said. It also gave the chance for volunteers to hit areas that have not been included in past cleanups.
The end result is more miles cleaned and less trash overall. The success of the clean up has meant a decreased need for a fall event; however, Vance said Ameren intends to continue the fall cleanup for adopting groups that prefer to go out during that time of the year.
For years, non-encapsulated dock foam created an unsightly mess along the shoreline. Ameren Missouri subsequently banned the use of non-encapsulated foam. The ban combined with the army of volunteers who comb the shoreline every spring and fall has made a significant difference in the amount of debris collected annually.
It is also allowing volunteers to get some of the more remote areas of the lake cleaned up, Vance said.
To get involved