Cleaning up the Thornapple River
The Thornapple River Watershed Council hosted the 22nd Annual Cleanup of the Thornapple River on Saturday morning, Sept. 16. The river runs from Thornapple Lake, which is just east of Hastings, Mich., through the Michigan countryside until it empties into the Grand River in Ada. Fred Steketee, a member of the TRWC and organizer for the cleanup commented that the river was the lowest he'd ever seen it, and clear because there hadn't been any recent rainfall. Both are good conditions for finding garbage in the river. The group that met at Ruehs Park was one of three working to clean up the river this weekend.
The Soil and Water Conservation Society from Grand Valley State University was well represented at the clean-up, too. They're a group of students who volunteer with local environmental organizations to do things like river and roadside cleanups, fight invasive species and other volunteer work days that support conservation efforts.
Several local citizens also showed up to help do their part to keep the river clean. Joe Mendez and Abby Merrill, both GVSU alumni, live on the river and used their pontoon boats to cleanup downstream from Ruehs Park, which acted as the rendezvous point for the group. Ruehs Park is in a small, unincorporated village called Alaska in Caledonia township. Another group of kayaks and canoes carpooled up to a landing on 84th Street and combed the river back to Ruehs Park from there.