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Kankakee River Warriors launched

December 21, 2017 GMT

After last week’s rant, I have calmed down slightly. I have had some time to reflect and try to make perpetual clean-up of our waterways a reality.

Since last week, the Kankakee River Warriors Facebook group has grown to more than 100 people.

To join the group, I asked people a simple question, “How do you think you can help clean up the Kankakee River?” People answered in a variety of ways, but most said they were around the river often and would be happy to help report and clean when opportunities presented themselves.

The people joining the group represented a wide consistency — fishermen, business owners, professors, people worried about the environment, people worried about their kids. This gives me some hope. In the coming weeks, I want to figure out ways to make river clean-up as easy as possible for people.

I have reached out to the Kankakee River State Park and the Kankakee Valley Park District as both own significant bank-side real estate. I will reach out to the Bourbonnais Park District and others soon. I hope to work with them to develop a pick-up system for the garbage that is collected. I feel people will be more enticed to participate if they don’t have the lug debris home with them and try to figure out what to do with it.

I also am looking to map out all public access trash cans/dumpsters within reasonable distance of our waterways. I hope to make this digital and easily accessible from the Facebook group so while pickers are out, they can easily identify disposal locations. The Chicago Field Museum has expressed interest in helping to create this map.

A big shout out goes to Nathan Mullikin, who, upon joining the group, seemingly immediately went out and collected a heap of trash near Hyde’s hole behind the regional sewage treatment plant in Kankakee. We celebrate Nathan and any others who share their trashy treasures.

Finally, if you have a few seconds, please take out your phone and enter 1-877-236-7529 into your contacts. This is the number to reach the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police tip line. The conservation police are charged with a creed — “To be a vigilant guardians of the natural resources, public safety, and homeland security of Illinois.” Pollution in our waterways falls under their jurisdiction and should be reported if witnessed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Northern Illinois Anglers Association conducts the J.R. Black Adopt a River Program with individuals and organizations taking responsibility for river cleanup from the Indiana state line to Area 9 of Kankakee River State Park, downstream from Warner Bridge on the Kankakee-Will county line. The program was renamed in honor of Black, who founded Adopt-a-River here. Individuals and groups have adopted all but 1 mile covered, except for river areas bordered by private property, said Adopt-a-River manager Sam Thomas. For more information, call Thomas at 815-953-1372. NIAA President Ken Munjoy commended Edmonson and his group for the added River Warriors efforts.