Although high river levels and the pandemic put the Yankton Area Missouri River Cleanup on hold since 2019, it was held again this year on Saturday, May 7th. About 60 volunteers helped gather trash that had accumulated from Gavins Point Dam to Riverside Park. But before volunteers began, there was cause for celebration as Mary Robb and Paul Lepisto, from the Missouri River Events (MRE) Committee, awarded Dugan Smith with a picture that showed their gratitude for Dugan’s role in organizing all 16 of the Yankton Area Missouri River Cleanups. The photograph of a buffalo skull in the river by Green Island was taken by Sam Stukel of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Before being transported along the river in seven boats, the National Park Service loaned volunteers Personal Flotation Devices and gave them instructions for staying safe as they worked along the river. And did they work! A total of 1330 pounds or .665 of a ton was brought back to Riverside Park and collected by a ground crew. The trash will then be recycled or disposed of. Volunteers leave the event knowing that they are leaving a clearer river, but also having a better connection to the Missouri River and to the Yankton community.