Operation Clean Stream

Since 1967, The Open Space Council for the St. Louis Region has organized Operation Clean Stream, one of the country’s most significant 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 in canoes and boats, on the shore, in nearby parks, and along trails. Read on to find out about recent Operation Clean Stream years:


Operation Clean Stream 2022 was a huge success! We returned to guided cleanups this year, after doing many self-guided cleanups the previous years due to the pandemic. With trip leaders prepared to answer questions and provide guidance, groups of volunteers floated over 300 miles on various tributaries of the Meramec Watershed and maneuvered through parks to gather litter. Some volunteers chose to stay dry and participate in land-based cleanups as well. No matter the location, volunteers made a huge impact and we are so grateful for all our volunteers!

Click here to see the 2022 Operation Clean Stream Annual Report. We are proud to have celebrated 55 years of Operation Clean Stream this year!

Check out the short video below that shares the highlights of this year:


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, Bridgestone, Enterprise Holdings Foundation, 4 Hands Brewing Company, Saint Louis County Parks, and so many more for supporting Operation Clean Stream 2022!

*~* Click Here to listen to the KDHX interview with Jean Ponzi celebrating 50 years of Operation Clean Stream

We organize clean-ups for groups, organizations, and corporate and small businesses. There are also sponsorship opportunities available. So please contact us at 314-835-9225 or info@openspacestl.org if you have a group interested in volunteering or an organization interested in becoming a sponsor.

In 2021 our #OperationCleanStream event took place from August 21st thru the 29th. The format of these clean-ups was a hybrid of both self-guided independent and group-led sites.

The Annual Operation Clean Stream group clean-ups and picnics took place on August 28th, 2021, at various locations throughout the Meramec Watershed. 
Over 2,000 volunteers participated as we celebrated 54 years of improving local rivers and open spaces! 
Over the last couple of years, we have seen how important open spaces and clean water are to our communities’ health and well-being. So we thank you for helping to keep them beautiful and clean!
Click here for the 2021 Operation Clean Stream Program Report. Check out the video below for a recap of past Operation Clean Stream years: