Anoka Rotary cleans up for cleaner water

The Anoka Rotary Chapter rallied local community members last weekend in their first Community Clean-Up for Water Quality in Penninsula Park.  Members of the Anoka Rotary Club were joined by the Anoka Lions Club, students and faculty from Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Anoka High School and a local Boy Scout troop to sweep fallen leaves out of streets, parking lots and storm drains.

Anoka rotary collects leaves

Rotary volunteers collect leaves

Ace Solid Waste contributed a roll-off dumpster to collect the leaves and debris, and Steve’s Lawn Care donated a lawn vacuum and an additional truck to carry the leaves to a composting facility.

The event was the latest in a series of clean-ups this fall sponsored through a partnership between the Freshwater Society and Friends of the Minnesota Valley.  The Anoka Rotary chapter joined a growing number of citizen groups engaged in direct action to protect Minnesota’s water resources.  Biology professor Melanie Waite-Altringer said, “I LOVED being a part of this and so did my students.”

The clean-ups focus on cleaning up organic debris like leaves and grass from streets, storm drains, boulevards, parking lots and public areas, and taking the debris to a local composting facility.  Organic materials contain high levels of phosphorus, one of the primary sources of pollution that turn Minnesota’s lakes and rivers green with algae.  For every five bags of leaves collected, volunteers keep up to a pound of phosphorus out of rivers and lakes, preventing the growth of up to 500 pounds of algae.

The Anoka Rotary Clean-Up gathered up 2.5 tons of organic material.  That adds up to that’s up to 50 pounds of P that won’t flow to the river, and up to 25,000 of algae that won’t be growing in the river.  Organizer Gary Campbell said, “It was a fabulous day and a job that needed to be done. Many people asked when we would be doing this again.”

Learn more about Community Clean-Ups for Water Quality coming up in spring of 2012.

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