COVID Doesn't Stop Living Land and Waters
Despite the pandemic, 2021 was another busy year for Chad Pregracke and Living Lands and Waters. By the end of December, the group had picked up more than 565,000 pounds of trash along seven major rivers.
Spokesperson Callie Schaser says because of COVID, Living Lands and Waters relied on small group cleanups instead of the larger events of the past years.
"We'd get groups of anywhere from 6-15, 6-20 trying to be as safe as possible with COVID. Luckily we do work outside so that make our life a little easier just being more safe but when we're in the boats and everything with them we have COVID measures just to be safe and all of that.
One major change from the past was having a small excavator to help their crews pick up larger items.
"So they're going up and down on the banks and getting that really, really heavy stuff that we can't get which are cars, boats, house boats, we have a sail boat, and we have a sunken barge as well. And those things come anywhere from 3,000 pounds I think maybe even to 35."
Schaser says during a cleanup in Memphis, they found a gun with its serial number scratched off and gave it to police, and near Paducah, they found a 10,000 pound boiler from a turn-of-the-century steamboat.
In December, Living Lands and Waters sent a crew to Kentucky to help clean up from the devastating tornados. At Kentucky Lake they focused on picking up boats that had been damaged to recover the fuel before it leaked into the environment.