McMinnville’s Breakfast Rotary Club is one of 19 organizations that received a state grant for river cleanup projects across the state.
Member Rachel Killebrew said the organization started the Friends of the River 14 years ago. Killebrew said its mission is to keep the 120 miles of Warren County river front clean.
“We couldn’t do what all we’ve done without the funding,” Killebrew said. “We buy trash boats. We buy supplies for volunteers. All the necessities that people need to keep safe while they are also helping with the river.”
Killebrew said the grant funding helps keep the Collins River, Barren Fork River and Hickory Creek clean. Killebrew said the organization uses trash boats to float down the water way and collect garbage on the banks and sunken underwater.
“We’ve gotten several thousands of dollars this year,” Killebrew said. “TVA has given a grant every year and so has TWRA and T-DOT and they all help fund this because it helps Tennessee.”
Killebrew said last year, over 300 volunteers participated in cleanup efforts. Killebrew said the organization has also started an adopt a mile program to help cleaning.
“We found out it is very difficult to clean all 120 miles,” Killebrew said. “We’ve got about 40 miles of river adopted by different groups of people like church groups, young professional groups that keep their segment clean.”
The TWRA Aquatic Habitat Protection Program funded this grant. The program is designed to assist cities, schools, community organizations, civic groups, watershed organizations and conservation groups with stream clean-up projects.