McDonald County non-profit spearheading stream cleaning efforts

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A McDonald County non-profit is taking the effort of stream cleaning in their own hands.

Maryah Wagner, iCleanWaterways, said, “It just started with a float trip with the family and the kids started noticing how much trash and right then and there we just decided that cleaning up our waterways is something that really wanted to do.”

Maryah and Nathan Wagner started iCleanWaterways two years ago, which is a non-profit organization that floats rivers in McDonald County to pick up trash.

And they’ve found all sorts of things including tires from the 70’s to common items.

“Between needles, port-a-potties, to metal, to wood.”

After every trip, the Wagner family takes the trash home to weigh, separate, and dispose of properly.

And the McDonald County community has been pretty supportive of this effort.

“We do always ask permission before we come up on anybody’s property. Most people are very willing to help us. They’re very happy to see us out there trying to clean up.”

So far, iCleanWaterways has picked up 32,000 pounds of trash and 317 tires in the 33 miles of McDonald County rivers they’ve surveyed.

And their website helps document everything they’ve cleaned.

Nathan Wagner, iCleanWaterways, said, “We login and GPS-in if we see a farm dump or some kind of dump that’s along the way, we’ll record it and we GPS it in so that we can turn it over to the proper authorities.”

Big Elk Campground already sponsors their effort, but they’re hoping more businesses and community members will support the cause.

“The way that they’re sponsoring us is that they’re giving us two dollars a tire for every tire that we pull out.”

“I wish more people were on board. Part of what we do is trying to educate people on where the trash is from, how to take care of it, and also trying to promote personal responsibility. I mean it makes us feel good and I hope people could also go out there and feel good about doing the same thing,” said Maryah.

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