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Pissing and moaning: Kankakee River clean-up

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The crap that ends up in our rivers just pisses me off.


This is the main dumpster at the Aroma Park boat launch on Sunday (I ran over after the Bears game because I forgot the camera on Saturday). That is the focal point for the clean-up for the area around the confluence of the Kankakee and Iroquois rivers.

Three of our kids--Josh, 17, Sara, 8, Sam, 4--helped with the cleanup on Saturday, part of the great ``It's Our River Day.'' We did back clean-up along the Kankakee and the woods by Shannon Bayou Saturday morning.

The morning ended up being wonderful for nothing to do with the clean-up. It was wonderful in part because the various-aged kids got along well. And because, with the dry conditions, we were able to hike the entire way to the point of Shannon Bayou and the Kankakee, which is across from swankier homes downstream of the confluence.

There were tracks of some canine and geese on the sandbar point. Two separate boaters reported catching very nice northern pike, one inside Shannon Bayou, the other just off Riggs Grove at the confluence.

My oldest boy, Josh Clothier, helped unload some of the boats that came into the launch with junk. So I took some of his report.

He helped manhandle a heavy oak door and a sand-filled Big Wheel trike. Other notable pieces of junk were a redwood table, an abandoned jonboat and lots of tires.

On a good note, we found two rope swings tied to a tree. Today, we hiked back and swung out into the river to play, cool cloudy day or not.

It was fun..

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I wonder how much of that junk was thrown into the river and how much was swept out of peoples homes and yards with the annual spring floods.

Very good question. Considering the multiple major floods in the past year, you might have a point, especially with the big sofa, some of the other furniture, and the Big Wheel. I don't think all the tires came from flooding. Or the more mundane garbage of cans and bottles, etc.

Much to my dismay, I see locations along the Kankakee and other feeder ditches and bayous where people have dragged worn out sofas and sitting room chairs to sit in comfort in while they spend more time drinking beer and smoking cigarettes than they do fishing - the disturbing part is that they don't haul their sofa/chair back home AND they not only leave their cans/bottles and butts on the ground, but also packages from snacks, fishing tackle, used lighters, etc.

Some people simply have no regard for nature and all its beauty!

I realize that it's not my job to clean up after others, but, I still try to carry a garbage bag with me and haul some out when I can...if we don't do it, then who will? The people who left it there to begin with? Don't hold your breath!

You may be able to attribute some to the Spring flooding, but from my vantage point I'd assume it's mostly from people who simply don't care about the environment.

I for one I think that fishing is just as much of a privilege as much as a right. With that said I have always thought that if you have been seen throwing fishing gear, packages, line, hooks along the river and ponds you should have your fishing license revoked for "X" amount of time and certainly other consequences for repeated offenders. I also thought this way about poaching, if you are caught you should get a fine along with a revoked license, followed by a state test to get it back or something of that nature.

If the DNR really is hurting for cash I think that this will also help bring in some money... litter"fisher"men and poachers should be paying for the gap that prevents other fishing men from enjoying this past time.

Controversy will surely come from this idea, but I think it would be a win win and a great wake up call for those that disrespect our water ways.

Resident fisherman

Even in my maddest moments (few things tee me off more than picking up discarded blue plastic bait containers or wads of fishing line), I never thought of using littering as a reason for revoking a license. I kind of like it, but wonder if it would be enforceable.

I look at it this way. I hear a lot of excuses about people not knowing that keeping an undersized fish or trashing the waterways was wrong. I happen to believe that most of that is well ... bologna. When you look at how complicated the rules of fishing really can be I am sometimes surprised that we don't have to take small mild test to get one. But there is the honor system, that is, it your responsibility to know the rules and laws. I personally think that if we don't realize the repercussions poaching or leaving trash around than we don't realize the rules of transporting live bait from one pond to another, the risk of boating and zebra mussels, etc. Some have already showed us that you can not rely on the honor system for people to obey the laws of fishing.

Seeing a water fowl dying in a tree with fishing line rapped around it's legs aggravates me MORE than seeing some one litter, but again it took that one act for the other happen.

On another note I do realize that as fishermen we risk losing lures, line, hooks, and the unintentional killing of a fish but we all know there is a difference.

Drive along the river the afternoon before the cleanup and then do so before the cleanup starts the next morning. You will be amazed at how much stuff sprouted wings overnight and made it's way down to the river or the parking lots at access points.

I've been doing this for a while and organizing cleanups for the Illinois Smallmouth Alliance and it's just about got to the point that I can predict where the trash will be.

My son and I do our own cleanups two to three times a week. I just wish that it was not necessary to do it so often.

I live on the river, up river from Aroma park. Most of the trash we get comes from Reeds Rentals Canoes. When there are canoers on the river you can see their beer cans floating before you see the canoes. Reeds Rentals should be fined for all the garbage that ends up in my beautiful river.

About flooding, we did lose a turtle shaped sandbox a couple of years ago. Usually stuff doesn't get to far but we still haven't found that sandbox.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on September 20, 2009 9:56 PM.

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