'Is that a propane tank?'
Three women from Daughters of the American Revolution turned to each other Saturday at Marion Reservoir’s North Cottonwood Point area, wondering whether an object embedded in mud was a propane tank.
They opted not to try to wiggle it out but to let Lloyd Davies, organizer of an annual reservoir cleanup, know about it.
It was the trio’s first time volunteering for the cleanup.
“This was the idea of one of our newest members, who lives in the Marion County area,” Patti Unruh of Newton’s DAR chapter said. “We thought it would be a great service project on Earth Day, so here we are.”
The group found mostly beer bottles and cans and shotgun shells.
“Nothing too dramatic at this point,” Unruh said.
Davies echoed that.
“Not here so much. Bodies up in Kansas City,” he said. “We’ve found four bodies.”
The reservoir cleanup grew out of Missouri Stream Team efforts in which Davies participated before moving to this area in 1998. Cleanups at Marion Reservoir started in 2002. They’re akin to Adopt-a-Highway, but for bodies of water.
“This is our 19th cleanup,” Davies said as he scoured the bay. “It’s our 21st year, but two years, there was COVID.”
Jennifer Hess, who lives in Marion, and Deb Eaves, chapter regent, were part of the DAR group picking up trash.
The weather was chilly and windy, which led to a lower turnout than some years. A group of scouts didn’t make it out.
“We had 42 signed up,” Davies said. “We’ve had up to 60 to 70. We want to get out here before everything starts growing up. But you don’t want to be out when it’s too cold or wet. It’s just hit-and-miss. I think I’ve got a miss this year.”
Volunteers headed out to four areas — the dam, French Creek Cove, the causeway, and North Cottonwood Point.
“We cover the whole place, but we know where the bad spots are,” Davies said. “North Cottonwood is probably always the worst.”
Davies and his son, Nicholas, found a hundred broken beer bottles there during a previous cleanup. They made a mosaic in the ground out of the beer caps.
“He found a Timex watch that was still ticking under water,” Davies said, gesturing to his son. “We’ve found tackle boxes. People are camping, and they throw out waste and stuff like diapers. We found CDs last year. A lot of it’s fishing-related.”
There are items left behind as if the reservoir were a dump: car parts, television sets, busted gear.
Volunteers covered about eight miles of shoreline and picked up 62 bags of trash. The oddest item found, Davies said, was a geocache dropoff container tied to a tree stump at North Cottonwood Point and inserted down into the stump.
“We signed our names and returned it to its location,” Davies said.
Last modified April 26, 2023