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Nisqually River Clean-up

Published on 5/11/2018

By Greg Provenzano

I wanted to thank you for your support of the Nisqually River Cleanup on Saturday, April 21, 2018 and give you a quick recap of this Event. The river was at a great level, approximately 2180 cubic feet per second (cfs) at McKenna.  The weather was fantastic, plenty of sunshine and no rain.  More importantly, the volunteer turnout was great!


  • More than 70 volunteers participated in the cleanup. (We had 73 individuals register in advance.  Of these, 3 cancelled and another 15 were no shows.  We had an additional 17 volunteers register or sign waivers on the day of the Event.)


  • More than half of our volunteers were from Washington Recreational River Runners. There were a handful of volunteers with no club affiliation. The rest were almost evenly split from the Washington Kayak Club, Paddle Trails Canoe Club,  and Nisqually River Foundation.  


  • Some 59 of our volunteers boated the river;  the rest helped out on land at one of our three water access sites: McKenna Park, Nisqually Park, and the 6th Avenue SE WDFW Water Access site.


  • Of those boating the river, 59 boated the Class II-III segment of the Nisqually River from McKenna Park to Nisqually Park; eleven boated the Class I-II segment of the river from Nisqually Park to the 6th Avenue SE WDFW Water Access Site. 


  • We had approximately 20 rafts or catarafts; 15 WW Kayaks; a handful of Inflatable Kayaks; and a couple canoes.


  • We cleaned up approximately 17 river miles, including the three water access sites we used.


  • By the end of the cleanup, we had collected approximately 15 yards of garbage, including a large metal tank, a gas lawn mower, part of a wooden deck and lots of other river debris.


If interested, you can view photos and a couple short videos taken at the cleanup by going to our Dropbox site by clicking here.  If you have photos that you’d like to share, please upload them to this site by clicking here.


This Event would not have been possible, but for all the support we received.  The Washington Kayak Club (WKC), Washington Recreational River Runners (WRRR), and Paddle Trail Canoe Club (PTCC) were instrumental in co-sponsoring this Event.  Each of the clubs scheduled trips in conjunction with the cleanup, provided trip leaders, and technical assistance. The Washington Kayak Club secured the Certificates of Insurance we needed to get permission to use our three water access sites.  The Nisqually River Council and staff from the Nisqually River Foundation helped us recruit volunteers to help out on land. We also got technical support from American Whitewater, the American Canoe Association and the American Rivers National River Cleanup® initiative.  I especially want to thank Kanako Iwata-Eng who was instrumental in getting the support of WKC and PTCC; Mike Germani and Dave Ortland from WKC who helped me secure the certificate of insurance that we needed; Rebecca Post and Brennan Filippini from WRRR who provided advice and guidance from all their work on the Green River Cleanup and mobilized a huge turnout of rafters that were critical to the success of this cleanup effort; Emily McCartan and Sheila Wilson from the Nisqually River Foundation who were key in recruiting and assigning local volunteers to help out on land and helped staff the Event themselves; Karen Pyle and Lynn Schneider who helped at Nisqually Park; and Jenefer Monroe and Dale Perry from WKC and PTCC who served as Trip Leaders.


I also want to acknowledge the support we received from:


  • Thurston County Public Works who provided garbage bags, first aid kits, and other items our volunteers used during this Event and covered disposal fees at the Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center through the Thurston County Litter Control Program.


  • LeMay Pacific Disposal who provided trash and recycling drop boxes at Nisqually Park and hauled the trash we collected to the Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center without charge.


  • Centralia City Light who welcomed us at both McKenna and Nisqually Parks, where our volunteers parked, launched and retrieved their rafts, kayaks and other watercraft and where we hosted our after event BBQ.


  • The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife who welcomed us at their 6thAvenue SE Water Access Site.


  • The Mayor of Yelm, J.W. Foster and his wife, Nicki who hauled their BBQ grill to McKenna Park, helped us set up for the after event celebration, and served as the grill master.


In speaking with staff and the Nisqually River Council, we’re hoping this will become a regular, if not, annual Event.  If folks had any concerns that you feel we should address before planning the next cleanup or suggestions on how we should do things differently in the future, please let me know.


Thanks, Greg



Greg Provenzano



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