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Nisqually River Cleanup 2022

Greg Provenzano | Published on 4/14/2022
I wanted to thank you for your support of the Nisqually River Cleanup that took place on Saturday, April 2, 2022 and give you a recap of what occurred. This was our third major cleanup of the river, following previous cleanups in 2018 and 2019. Now that the Covid-19 pandemic appears to be subsiding, we hope this will become an annual event.

The river had been running at around 1600 cubic feet per second (cfs) the week prior to the cleanup. To our surprise and delight, the river flow was bumped up to above 2200 cfs shortly before the cleanup commenced.  This was significantly higher than previous cleanups, but made the event more fun for boaters. The weather was a mix of clouds and sun with an occasional rain shower.  More importantly, the volunteer turnout was great! 


  • We had at least 82 volunteers participate in cleaning up the Nisqually River from McKenna Park all the way down to the 6th Avenue SE WDFW Water Access Site. (We had 61 individuals register in advance.  Of these, 12 were no shows.  However, we had an additional 33 volunteers check in on the day of the Event.)


  • At least 76 of our volunteers boated the river; the rest helped on land at McKenna Park and/or Nisqually Park (aka Yelm Hydro Plant). We had one volunteer who planned to boat but agreed to help out on land because he lacked the appropriate cold water protection gear to boat the river.


  • We had approximately 37 boaters from the Washington Recreational River Runners, 27 from Washington Kayak Club, 7 from Paddle Trails Canoe Club and another five who did not indicate their club affiliation, if any.


  • Of those boating the river, more than 80% boated the Class II-III segment of the Nisqually River from McKenna Park to Nisqually Park. We did, however, have approximately 13 boat the Class I-II segment of the river from Nisqually Park to the 6th Avenue SE WDFW Water Access Site. 


  • We had a range of watercraft, including rafts, catarafts, whitewater kayaks, inflatable kayaks, single and tandem canoes.


  • We cleaned up approximately 17 river miles.


  • By the end of the cleanup, we had collected 1.9 tons of garbage, including the remnants of an aluminum boat, several mattresses, a bicycle, tires, etc.


A few photos speak volumes:

If interested, you can view or add your photos taken at the cleanup by going to our Google Photos page by clicking here.
 (Please note the name captions on this page, only indicate who uploaded the photos, not necessarily who took them).

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 Trails Canoe Club (PTCC) were instrumental in co-sponsoring this Event and providing financial support for our stickers, door prizes, snacks, and water.  WKC, WRRR and PTCC scheduled trips in conjunction with the cleanup, provided trip leaders, and technical assistance. WKC secured the Certificate of Insurance we needed to use McKenna and Nisqually Parks.  We also got technical support from the American Canoe Association and bags and technical support from the American Rivers National River Cleanup® Initiative



Lastly, I want to acknowledge the critical support we received from:


  • Nisqually River Foundation whose staff helped plan this Event, recruited volunteers to help on land, provided a table and canopies, and borrowed a truck from the Nisqually Tribe to help haul what we collected on the lower river back to the our two drop boxes at the Yelm Hydro Plant.


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


  • LeMay Pacific Disposal who provided trash and recycling drop boxes and glass bins at Nisqually Park and hauled what 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.


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


  • Jackson Kayak Adventures, the Olympia REI Store, and Northwest River Supplies who donated swag and other items for our Door Prize Raffle which we held in lieu of an after event BBQ because of the pandemic.


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.



Greg Provenzano

Washington Kayak Club Member

Organizer of the Nisqually River Cleanup


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