Archive for Thursday, March 9, 2006

Volunteer efforts to lend hand to Kaw River

March 9, 2006

It will be a busy month for volunteer efforts on the Kansas River near De Soto.

De Soto City Councilwoman Betty Cannon, who has been heading the effort to complete the boat ramp on city owned property in the West Bottoms, said that volunteers from R.L. Duncan Construction returned to the site to spread rip-rap along the ramp's shoulders and add additional gravel on the ramp.

The councilwoman said her husband, Jim, and other volunteers would be at the site late this week to set the forms for the ramp. On March 18, it appeared volunteers would be needed to help tie rebar before the concrete ramps are poured, she said.

Once that is done, the ramps will be given time to cure before being pushed into place.

Those who would to help with the remaining work can call the city at 583-1182.

There will be another volunteer effort on the river Saturday unless it is washed out by rain that day or those preceding it.

Kansas Riverkeeper and Friends of the Kaw member Laura Calwell said the organization was working with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the Bureau of Waste Management to rid a sandbar in the river just south of Linwood of about 1,000 tires embedded in its banks.

"I think if we investigate we'll find more, but that's what's visible," said Calwell, who discovered the tires on research float down the river.

"I have absolutely no idea how they got there. They were purposely put in the river, I am sure. There's a little 2-by-4 inch rectangle cut in the sidewall of the tire so they would sink. Tires aren't that easy to cut."

The tires appear to have been on the sandbar for some time and are of the kind used 20 to 30 years ago. It is time for them to be removed, Calwell said.

"They're an eyesore, number one," she said. "They're not recommended to be used in the river for bank stabilization.

"With the access in De Soto, this part of the river has the potential to be much more popular for recreation."

Calwell said the two government agencies would provide boats to carry volunteers to the island and to haul off the tires.

Local sand companies have offered volunteers and equipment for the effort but more volunteers are welcome, Calwell said.

Volunteers will be asked to sign a liability waiver. Children older than 10 years of age are welcome when accompanied by an adult.

Those interested in volunteering can participate by calling Calwell at (913) 963-3460 or (785) 312-7200 or sending an e-mail via the "contact us" line on the organization's Web site at

Volunteers need to wear long pants, long sleeved shirts, sturdy shoes and work gloves, plus bring warm outerwear, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and a shovel.

Looking at the forecast, Calwell said there was a very good chance the tire cleanup could be postponed. If it rains Thursday, Friday or Saturday it would be rescheduled to March 25, Calwell said. A postponement would be posted on the Friend of the Kaw's Web site, she said.

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