Operation Clean Stream

Since 1967, The Open Space Council for the St. Louis Region has organized Operation Clean Stream, one of the country’s largest and longest-running river restoration projects. Every August, volunteers take to the Meramec River and its tributaries, working to undo the damage caused throughout the year by flooding, careless littering, and the unlawful dumping of debris. Volunteers participate both in canoes and boats, on the shore, in nearby parks, and along nearby trails.

Volunteer For Operation Clean Stream 2021!

Operation Clean Stream is August 21 – 29, 2021. The format of this year’s cleanup will be a hybrid of both self-guided independent and group-led cleanups.

Operation Clean Stream will take place on August 28th, 2021, at various locations throughout the Meramec Watershed. Join us as a volunteer this year as we celebrate 54 years of improving local rivers and open spaces! This year there are both group and self-guided clean-up options. Volunteers can sign up and participate anytime between August 21st and 29th or participate in group clean-ups on August 28th. All volunteers are welcome to come to one of the various picnics on Saturday, August 28th. Click Here To Register!

If choosing a self-guided cleanup, you can order supplies (bags, gloves, t-shirts) for pickup upon registering. Before the event, you’ll receive detailed instructions on how to access your chosen site. To help determine what site is best suited for your household, sites have been given a grading scale for volunteer accessibility – the grading scale is below:

Grade A: On Land – Flat. Open. Suitable for all ages and some limited mobility. On Water – Easy Float.

Grade B: On Land – Some Slopes. Some Brush. Recommended for ages 9 and up. Full mobility suggested. On Water – Moderate float for those with some experience.

Grade C: On Land – Heavy trash. Heavy brush. Steep slopes. Complete mobility is needed. Recommended for ages 16 and up. On Water – Moderately Strenuous float for those who are experienced paddlers.

Grade D: On Land – Experienced volunteers only. Heavy lifting. Steep slopes. Heavy brush. May involve heavy equipment and power tools for the majority of trash removed. On Water – Strenuous float only for experienced paddlers and can respond to quickly changing conditions on the water.

Over the last year, we have seen how essential parks, open spaces, and the natural environment is to our communities’ health and well-being. So we thank you for helping to keep them beautiful and clean!

Special thanks to our partners Great Rivers Greenway, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, Conservation Federation of Missouri, Missouri Stream Teams, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri State Parks, Saint Louis County Parks, and many more for supporting this year’s event!

Thanks to all who volunteered for Operation Clean Stream 2020!

Special thanks to Bayer, Great Rivers Greenway, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, Missouri American Water, the Meramec River Recreation Association, On the Run, Missouri Stream Teams, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri State Parks, Saint Louis County Parks, and so many more for supporting Operation Clean Stream 2021!

“When an area is kept free of trash & other debris, visitors are more respectful & reluctant to add trash to the area.” 30-year veteran volunteer, Jerry Castillon