Austin volunteers continue work to clean up Cedar River - KXLT - Fox 47 Rochester MN News, Weather, Sports #rochmn

Austin volunteers continue work to clean up Cedar River

AUSTIN, Minn. (FOX 47) -- The effort to clean up bodies of water in our area continues as a few volunteers waded through a portion of the Cedar River near Austin picking up any trash they saw along the way.

A river that once was so promising is now suffering.

"Just picked up a ton of stuff," said Mike Hull, a volunteer cleaning the river. "We filled up two jon boats last year in short order, and I can't even begin to tell you what we picked up, all kinds of things."

The Cedar River, now at a low level in a good number of spots, is dealing with a trash problem, something Hull is looking to combat.

"We all fish, boat and have hunted in this area, so we had good purpose, I think, to maybe take care of or give something back to the river," said Hull.

The group has gathered kitchen utensils, metal signs, car parts and at last count they know of 110 tires that need removing.

"If you're floating a river or wading a river, it would be nice to have the allusion of wilderness, anyway," said volunteer Bob Wangsness. "And when you see a bunch of trash around, it..."

The summer of 2012 has brought awareness to issues that threaten water quality -- threats that include algae build-up and more trash. All of those are threats the Cedar River Watershed District know they can handle.

"This is a very important part of that water quality component is getting the trash and the debris and the tires and the things that are in the water cleaned up," explained Justin Hanson with the Cedar River Watershed District. "Because those are the things that the people using the resource see the most, so this is a critical part of what we're trying to do in the watershed."

As the men make their way down the river, they believe the work they do now will bring new life to the river they still love.

Currently this is a once-a-year effort for the group, but more and more volunteers are working with the Cedar River Watershed District to continue the cleanup effort.

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