2016 Annual River Cleanup and Tire Collection

THANK YOU to the 123 Volunteers Joined in River Cleanups from Byron to Chesaning


Mother Nature no match for community spirit: the 2016 River Cleanup was bigger and better than all previous years!

Mother Nature gave us her worst, which is quite ironic. She rained out both our original and make-up cleanup days for the first time in Friends' 20-year history...so we adapted our plans and the community response was overwhelming.


The Friends of the Shiawassee River (Friends) and the Shiawassee County Health Department (SCHD) offer our heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated in the eight river cleanup events and the scrap tire collection. It would not have been possible without their dedication and commitment to our region’s most valuable natural asset. Cleanup crews were sent to multiple locations on the river between Byron and Chesaning, picking up trash from over many more miles of the river than ever before.  People from all walks of life and all ages came together to demonstrate that the Shiawassee River is a source of great pride, enjoyment and value to our community.  Maybe Mother Nature knew what she was doing after all.


“Thank you to our volunteers and supporters for being wonderful stewards of the environment,” said  Larry Johnson, SCHD Director. “Our freshwater resources are important not only to the economy and environment, but to the health of our citizens. Your efforts will ensure the Shiawassee River and its resources are enjoyed by future generations.” 

We had eight smaller events throughout the watershed, including adding an optional river cleanup for participants in the Labor Day Mayors’ Bridge Walk.  Community leaders in Byron, Durand, Corunna, Owosso and Chesaning pitched in to make this year’s cleanup a success, as did a group of University of Michigan Graduate Students and Memorial Healthcare. All these efforts combined for a total of 123 volunteers removing approximately 10 cubic yards of debris, as well as 56 tires from the river.  873 tires in total were collected during the tire recycling effort. Over the past 20 years, hundreds of cubic yards of waste have been removed from the river.  More than 10,000 privately owned tires have been brought to the tire collection for proper disposal and recycling. 


“You never know what you might find. It is like a treasure hunt!” said Friends’ Executive Director, Lauri Elbing. “Since the Friends’ River Cleanups began 20 years ago, there has been a gradual decline in the amount of debris and tires collected from the river.  The river is becoming healthier every year thanks, in part, to these efforts of our wonderful community. That is good news!”

The Friends of the Shiawassee River extend our deepest appreciation to our volunteers and sponsors. You are the heart and soul of the Friends. Your hard work has made a difference.  Thank you!

The 2016 Annual Cleanup is generously supported by the following sponsors: 





If you or your business are interested in sponsoring the 2017 Shiawassee River Cleanup or events and projects, please contact our executive director, Lauri Elbing, for details.

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Friends of the Shiawassee River
P.O. Box 402
Owosso, MI 48867
(989) 723-9062