This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

ST. LOUIS – Spring flooding and stormwater runoff leave behind debris and trash along our riverfronts.

Friday morning, hundreds of volunteers from Abstrakt Marketing Group along with the Missouri Stream Team worked hard to get the St. Louis Riverfront looking beautiful again. 

“When we have a high water event here, it drops it here,” said Brian Waldrop, the St. Louis Regional Stream Team assistant with Missouri Stream Team.

He said 520 bags were used in the cleanup.

This event “helps communities downstream as well,” Waldrop said.

The volunteers found some interesting items.  

“There was a lot of man-made trash out here. A lot of styrofoam, plastic, that kind of thing,” said Erin Hilligoss-Volkmann, director of education with the Gateway Arch National Park. 

Micah Johnson, a volunteer from Abstrakt Marketing Group, said animal bones were found, along with glass and plastic.

Approximately 1,500 lbs of metal and 6-8 tires were also collected, according to Waldrop.

This work is important to keep the water source clean “because of the way water moves and the wind moves, three out of every five pieces of trash are going to end up in our water systems,” Hilligoss-Volkmann said.

“Eighteen million people get their water from the Mississippi River, so it’s really important we keep that contamination, that debris, out of the water source, just for the health of people, the health of our environment, our ecosystems here and to beautify the area.”

“We have visitors from all over the world that come to Gateway National Park and we’d like to keep it clean for them,” she added.

The volunteers enjoyed their day of service. 

“It feels really good giving back to the community. Being able to come down here and just contribute to the overall environmental health,” Johnson said.

“I like the feeling it gives me in the give back sense and also just getting your hands dirty. “Doesn’t take much to give back. We’re all happy. We’re all out here smiling have a good time. If you have good people, it’s really – it’s not work.” 

And one lucky volunteer came away with more than a boost of morale. 

“The prize find of the day was $70. How cool is that?” Waldrop said. 

National Public Lands Day is coming up in September, which is traditionally the nation’s largest single-day volunteer effort.