Littering is not only an eyesore; it shows a lack of respect someone demonstrates by leaving their trash behind for others to clean up. And that reputation as litterbugs nearly cost the Des Moines fishing community the opportunity to fish along the new Des Moines River Walk.
“Anglers nearly lost the opportunity to fish a premier location because of litter. This should serve as a wakeup call to take better care of our resources and clean up after ourselves,” said Joe Larscheid, chief of fisheries for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
“We are using a lot of energy and resources to get people fishing and when they come out to a shoreline they see all this trash on shore. That’s pretty disappointing.”
A number of civic and conservation groups spend countless hours volunteering their time to clean the shorelines of the empty bait containers, old fishing line, pop and beer cans, chips and candy wrappers and so on.
“Just about anything you can carry with you fishing, we’ve probably cleaned it up,” Larscheid said.
The solution, he said, is not that difficult. Anglers should tuck a few plastic grocery sacks in their tackle bag and use it for trash.
“When you’re done fishing, carry the sack out with you. Pretty simple,” Larscheid said. “It’s our resource and we need to do a better job of keeping it clean, and that includes not throwing rough fish on shore. That leaves a terrible, smelly mess.
“If you don’t want to eat the fish, either throw it back to the water or give them to someone who does. Don’t leave it to rot on the bank; that makes the area less family friendly and a rotting mess. And, it’s littering,” he said.
For more information contact Joe Larscheid, Chief of Fisheries, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 515-281-5208.