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Hidden 'treasures' await at reservoir cleanup

Staff writer

Volunteers will gather at 9 a.m. April 22 for a trash scavenger hunt — um, cleanup — at Marion Reservoir.

Lloyd Davies, owner of Great Plains Computers and Networking in Marion, has organized an annual cleanup since 2002.

COVID-19 concerns meant skipping 2020 and 2021.

“Last year was the first year we did it since 2019,” Davies said.

The event brings 40 to 70 volunteers every year, depending on the year and school involvement, he said.

Volunteers often find a lot of fishing line at the water’s edge, Davies said.

Fishing line is a problem because it can tangle around the legs of waterfowl and lead to loss of the birds’ feet.

He once found a Timex watch under water. As an old television advertisement promised, it was still ticking.

“One year we found a commemorative Coke can,” he said. “One year we found a commemorative Pepsi can. One year we found parts of a car, like somebody had a wreck on the causeway.”

In 2019, volunteers found barrels tied together under water. Lake employees said the barrels had been used in fishing.

Davies used to live in Missouri, where groups of volunteers called stream teams assist state conservation and natural resources departments by cleaning creeks and waterways.

Despite being in Kansas, the Marion Reservoir cleanup team is an official Missouri stream team, Davies said. Missouri provides supplies such as litter bags, work gloves, first-aid kits, T-shirts, storm drain stencils and markers, and tree seedlings.

Volunteers look at the reservoir differently after helping clean it up, Davies said.

“Once they’ve gotten down there and cleaned it, they own it,” he said. “They’re like, don’t mess up my reservoir.”

His love for cleaning up waterways goes back to his childhood when he liked to play in a creek.

Volunteers are warned to be careful of wildlife, especially snakes. Designated areas are selected in advance, but always include the dam, Cottonwood Point area, and causeway.

Sometimes volunteers see wildlife they wouldn’t ordinarily see, such as brown pelican and a redneck grebe.

“It gets me away from computers,” Davies said.

Anyone interested in helping can volunteer by calling Davies at (620) 382-2006 or the reservoir office at (620) 382-2101.

Last modified March 30, 2023

 

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