River stewards: Bitter Root Water Forum's Annual River Clean Up turns up more than just litter

River stewards: Bitter Root Water Forum's Annual River Clean Up turns up more than just litter

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“We didn’t find as much trash this year” is what the Bitter Root Water Forum heard time and again from their volunteers for the Bitterroot River Clean Up last weekend. Over 100 folks took to the River on Aug. 11, to take part in the annual event.

“We had people floating 15 stretches totaling 80 river miles from Marty’s Bridge on the West Fork down to Florence. Plus, there were over 30 walking sites along the full 155 miles of the river,” said Heather Barber, the executive director of the Bitter Root Water Forum. “We heard from most people that there was less litter so people were able to focus on bigger pieces of junk.”

A total of 2,290 pounds of trash was brought down to River Park for the event. Notable finds included a TV, 13 tires, a wagon wheel and most of a gazebo that fell into the river and washed downstream during high water this spring. By popular vote, the “Best Trash” prize went to a shopping cart/ barbecue set up found by Carrie Wise.

“The Bitter Root Water Forum is proud to put on this event for our community, bringing people together for the health of our River,” Barber said. “We hope that one reason people saw fewer cans and small trash this year was thanks to our ‘Clean Up All Year’ program.”

The Clean Up All Year program is an effort started by the Water Forum this spring, placing free river litter bags at fly shops and grocery stores throughout the Valley.

“These mesh reusable bags are great to have in your raft to throw your own cans and trash into,” Barber said. “You can empty them out at home and take them out on the river again.”

Between the Bitter Root Water Forum Annual Clean Up and the Clean Up All Year, the forum is hoping that people spend more time thinking about how critically important the river is to the community.

The Bitter Root Water Forum is a locally driven nonprofit organization that works to bring the community together to protect, enhance and restore the Bitterroot Watershed that we all rely on. For more information about this and their other efforts visit their website www.brwaterforum.org or find them on Facebook.

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