Great Mississippi Cleanup
East Moline, Ill. — On Saturday, June 19, volunteers in more than 22 cities from St. Paul to St. Louis will fan out along beaches and boat out to islands to clean up tires, barrels, propane tanks, appliances, plastic bottles, and other flotsam and jetsam. The nonprofit Living Lands & Waters has carried out more than 440 community river cleanups over the years, but the Great Mississippi River Cleanup will be its first river cleanup on this large a scale. Living Lands & Waters organizes cleanups on the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Illinois and Potomac rivers.
So far, cities that have signed on to the event include St. Paul, Red Wing, Lake City, Wabasha and Winona in Minnesota; La Crosse, Prairie du Chien and Cassville in Wisconsin; Lansing, Dubuque, Sabula, Clinton, Muscatine, Burlington and Keokuk in Iowa; the Quad Cities; New Boston, Quincy, Grafton, Alton and Wood River in Illinois; and LaGrange, Louisiana and St. Louis in Missouri.
For more information or to volunteer, visit the Living Lands & Waters website.
Tracking Golden Eagles
Wabasha, Minn. — The Golden Eagle Research Project released a golden eagle back into the wild near Fairchild, Wis., on March 25, after it recovered from injuries sustained earlier in the month in a traffic incident. It is equipped with a radio transmitter that will allow researchers to track its migration north to its nesting grounds. Researchers Scott Mehus of the National Eagle Center and Mark Martell of Audubon Minnesota hope to learn more about migration routes and breeding areas. They plan to trap and release as many as six golden eagles during the three-year project.
In March 2009 they released a golden eagle that came to be known as “Whitey,” also a rehabbed bird equipped with a transmitter. From March to December, Whitey spent most of his time in the high Arctic, much to the surprise of researchers here and in Canada. In early December 2009, he returned to Buffalo County, Wis., where he had been released.
Quad Cities — If you’re a paddler and want to be in the Guinness Book of World Records, the Quad Cities Paddlesports Festival on August 21 is giving you your chance. Organizers are looking for enough paddlers to win the world record for the largest raft of canoes and kayaks. The current record of 1,104 was set in 2008 in Inlet, N.Y. Sponsors of Floatzilla hope to amass 2,010 paddlers in the Mississippi River.
Floatzilla is sponsored in part by River Action, a local environmental group, and Saukenuk Paddlers Canoe and Kayak Club.
Paddlers of different skill levels can enter the river through four different launch sites. Guided paddles will be offered at some.