The Long-term Progress on the Great Miami River

Clean Sweep of the Great Miami River, Cox Cleanup

For four years in a row, American Rivers and Cox Conserves has been working to cleanup the Great Miami River, OH | © Courtney Barefoot

“It’s really not that bad out here.”

I heard this comment repeated by more than one person on Friday, July 19th at the fourth annual Clean Sweep of the Great Miami River, a river cleanup that brought out 97 volunteers from Cox Media Group Ohio and Manheim Cincinnati.

No, it was not in reference to the soaring heat index that rose above 90 degrees that sunny, steamy morning. What volunteers were actually marveling at was the condition of the river itself and its surrounding recreational park. The space was not free of the usual litter, such as discarded plastic bottles and fast food containers, and we ended up with fifty bags of trash and recycling and found some noteworthy items, including seven tires, a metal safe, a bicycle frame, a recycling bin with the recyclables still inside, and a large construction detour sign that if truly followed would have left you stranded in the middle of the Great Miami River.

Despite all of this, volunteers who had attended the previous years’ cleanups agreed that it really wasn’t that bad in terms of litter and overall cleanliness. I spoke with one gentleman who had been coming out since the first year we were out there. He recalled what terrible shape the river had been in just four years ago. This year we still had our work cut out for us, but there was a noticeable change in the area: the citizens of Dayton had taken notice of this great river resource right in their own backyard. We didn’t end up collecting as much trash as we had in the past and that’s a good thing because it means there was less to pick up. This was greatly encouraging for all our volunteers working in the heat that morning!

The benefits of participating in cleanups are apparent, and the Clean Sweep of the Great Miami River proves that they extend far into the future. Cox Media Group Ohio, Cox Conserves and National River Cleanup were proud to sponsor and participate in the Clean Sweep again this year. Find out how you can support your river and community by organizing or volunteering in a cleanup today!

See for yourself the positive difference you can make on the rivers that connect us.