Northern Rice County Watershed Alliance celebrates Earth Day and National Volunteer Week with a spring clean-up of Interstate 35 near Hwy. 19.

The Northern Rice County Watershed Alliance (NRCWA) is holding its “Adopt-a-Highway” cleanup event today, Saturday, April 23, 2005, just north of the Big Steer. Highway clean up will be followed by a picnic.

Here?s a car-load of volunteers who were eager to get moving on this brisk morning.


NRCWA is an association of Rice County residents interested in environmental and land use issues, and is one of 700 organizations that has ?adopted? a section of Minnesota highway. Miles 73-75 of I-35 is NRCWA?s territory — that?s a 2-mile stretch from about the Highway 3 bridge near Webster going north to the County Road 86 bridge). The DOT provides safety training, orange vests, and trash bags. After the clean-up, the DOT maintenance crews pick up the bags on the roadside.

NRCWA gives special thanks for the Church of the Annunciation, on Co. Rd. 46, for gathering space and bathrooms, and to McDonalds, Cub Foods, James Gang Coffee Shop and the Big Steer for sustenance for the road.

If you?re interested in helping out with the next clean-up, contact Ed & Bonnie Olson 507-664-3874.

If your group is interested in adopting a stretch of Minnesota highway, contact the DOT.

A few facts provided by the DOT web site via Ed Olson:

Litter Facts:

* Adopt-a-Highway volunteers pick up litter on more than 12,000 miles of Minnesota roadways.

* Adopt-a-Highway volunteers pick up approximately 26,000 tons of litter every year.

* During a one-time sweep of Interstate 35W in Minneapolis, Adopt-a-Highway volunteers picked up 192 tons of trash in one day. The quantity filled 16 Mn/DOT tandem trucks and represented approximately 6,000 filled trash bags.

* Researchers calculate that 55% of all littering is done intentionally by people who drop or discard products.

* 45% of roadside litter occurs unintentionally when trash blows out of uncovered trucks or falls off of unsecured loads.

* Experts estimate that approximately 80% of all littering is done by males.

* Food and beverage packaging constitutes 51% of roadside litter.

* A conviction for littering is a misdemeanor that is entered on the offender’s driving record. A second offense requires a minimum fine of $400 and a maximum of $700. A judge may require the offender to pick up litter along public roads or impose a jail sentence. (MN statutes 169.42 subd. 5)

* Mn/DOT can bill an individual for retrieving and disposing of illegally dumped items like tires, appliances, furniture and hazardous waste.

Next week… I’m going to obediance school!

One Response to “Caring for the Earth in a concrete (and asphalt and gravel) way!”

  1. Ed Olson Says:

    The rest of the story.
    We did it! Northbound/E ditch was cleaned for a total of 27 full, 40-gal trach bags, a tire and many tire pieces, boards/signs etc. 3 large bags of aluminum for recycle. About 20 man-hours labor as this stretch hadn’t been cleaned for about 3 yrs, and had double duty during last year’s construction on S bound lanes.
    Thanks to all! Still, volunteers to do S bound/W ditch? Contact Ed.

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