Volunteers rally to clean up Iowa River's east bank - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Volunteers rally to clean up Iowa River's east bank

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - Nearly one year ago, the area surrounding the Iowa City roller dam was under several feet of floodwater. Until Sunday, it was still under piles of dead trees and junk.

"There's about 40 to 50 tons of trees that were left in here," said Carol Sweeting with Iowa City Public Works.

Ryan Drysdale came with members of the University of Iowa Environmental Coalition to get their hands dirty.

"I unfortunately wasn't here over the summer, so I didn't get to help out with the flood work. But I feel like it's kind of my chance now," said Drysdale.

He hopes this gathering will remind people that flood recovery isn't over. "There's still work to be done, as evident here."

Sweeting says just like during the June 2008 flood, volunteer turnout was strong for this project.

"They think it's really important that we do something about what's happened in Iowa City, and this is one way they can come back to the Iowa River."

The city's been planning for about a year to turn the area into a portage for canoers, so they can safely bypass the roller dam and continue along the river. Sweeting says these cleanup efforts will speed up that process.

Public works intern Noah Poppelreiter says clearing the dead plant waste will also help the area get back to its normal growth and erosion cycle.

"It's just a much more natural area than the dead brush and all this tree and forest area. We need the grass back," he said. After stacking sandbags last June, he's glad to see so many people still caring, nearly one year later.

"It's great to see all these people, and I think we're going to get this entire area cleaned up today."

All of the dead wood will eventually be fed to a wood chipper, and recycled.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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