Council hears Boone River cleanup plans

More than 200 volunteers expected to take part in 61-mile river project

The City Council of Webster City Monday night learned more about a Boone River cleanup project coming up in July.

Seth Zimmerman, a volunteer with Iowa Project AWARE (A Watershed Awareness River Expedition), told the board that the cleanup project will encompass 61 miles of the Boone River from Goldfield to Stratford July 7 to 12.

“We generally have roughly 235 volunteers who will put in canoes at the beginning of each day. They will pick up garbage all along the Boone,” Zimmerman said. The group will travel between 5 and 16 miles each day.

“We’ll have a half-day take out and an end-of-the-day take-out where they will sort all of the trash in their boats into recycling, garbage and metal with different people hauling it away,” he said.

A local committee has been helping to plan the event, he said. The group will be based out of Briggs Woods each day except the first night in Goldfield.

“We’ll be in your community. It’s the greatest show on water,” Zimmerman said.

The program typically pulls 20 to 30 tons of garbage over the course of a week.

“We also have educational programming each night at that park and encourage the public to come out and see what we’re doing,” he said.

Councilman Jim Talbot asked if the group did water quality testing along the way.

“We have one crew and a boat that does water sampling,” he said. “Just general transparency, nitrogen-phosphorous, that kind of monitoring. We try to keep them out of the fray so they’re not among people stirring up sediments so they get better readings.”

He added that the testing results are posted each night.

The council approved a memorandum of understanding with Fort Dodge Convention and Visitors Bureau and Boone Forks Recreational District Partners for administrative services in connection with the Boone Forks Recreational District.

Brian Lammers, Hamilton County Conservation Director, asked the council to contribute $1,333.33 toward the hiring of a part-time position to help promote the tri-county region.

The Boone Forks Regional Plan is a partnership between Boone, Hamilton, and Webster Counties. The plan focuses on achieving economic, social, and natural resources balances and improvements. The Boone Forks Parks to People planning team involves collaborators from state, county, and local government, non-profit organizations, and private sector economic leaders to build a strong regional approach for the future, according to Lammers.

“This actually started back in 2010 when we were designated as an Iowa Great Place between Webster and Hamilton counties,” he said. “Recently we also asked for support to have a redesignation of the Iowa Great Places to include Boone County because of the partnership in the Parks to People program.”

Lammers said the group worked with the University of Iowa students who to develop a concept of regional marketing.

Working with the Fort Dodge Convention and Visitors Bureau, a new coordinator position will begin July 1 with no more than 520 hours, with the salary shared between the three counties. Hamilton County’s share is $4,000 with the city’s portion to be $1,333.33, he said.

He added that an additional $20,000 was awarded from the Iowa Parks Foundation which would help the project along.

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