Wabash County Residents Clean River for First Time

By Rachel Martin

July 30, 2011 Updated Jul 30, 2011 at 6:43 PM EDT

WABASH CO., Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Residents in Wabash County made history by cleaning out the Wabash River for the first time ever.

Michael Beauchamp, Volunteer Coordinator, said it all started over a cup of coffee at the Lagro Café.

“We just thought, ‘wouldn’t that be neat?,’” Beauchamp said, “I don’t know of an effort that covered the entire county, from the Huntington County line to the Miami County line ever. So I’m certain this is the first.”

Beauchamp said they decided to do this because the community enjoys aquatic activities on the Wabash, and they wanted the ecological and historical integrity of the river to be preserved.

“We don’t want that resource to go to waste or be neglected, for our kids for our grandkids. President Washington sent a man up this river in 1790 and he came right through our county.”

Beauchamp said people, ages 10-70, from Wabash and Lagro pulled together to form 20 teams to cover the 19.2 mile-span of the river. Each team was responsible for cleaning a mile. He said the effort has been tremendous.

“I am just dumbstruck by the enthusiasm! To get 350 people out here on a first time ever project, it's just unbelievable to me.”

The Wabash City Department and Lagro City Department partnered with Indiana State Police, the Corps of Engineers, Dept. of Natural Resources, the Parks Dept., the YMCA, Kiwanis, Rotary Club, the K nights of Columbus, and so many other volunteer groups and organizations.

“I think it says so much about the community and the spirit here to pull together a project like this.”

The trash was sorted into four piles: metal, tires, electronics, and miscellaneous.
Volunteers and the Wabash City Street Dept. will take all the trash collected from the river to recycling centers, landfills, or the Wabash City Solid Waste District Monday morning.

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