To the editor:
I need everyone's help to fix a problem in our community. In April 2012, for Earth Day, I adopted (through the DNR) the creek running behind Target/Burger King and the section of the Cottonwood River. Last fall, we (the River Ranger Program), cleaned up 4,286 pounds of litter from this area.
Before I get to the problem, I'd like to thank the community. This area has, for the most part, stayed very clean this year. I placed barrels along the creek and the road running up to Schell's, and one under the Poor Farm Bridge, and they are all being used. They have served their purpose and kept the creek and South Park clean, making my job so much easier. THANK YOU so much!
But sadly, I am not having good luck under the Hwy. 15 bridge (next to Jensen motors, the bridge heading out of town towards Searles). Due to easy access and being well hidden, it seems to be a dump site for a few lazy, irresponsible individuals. Large loads of household/garage items and dead animals are being dumped here. The police patrol the area but they can't be watching at all time. It doesn't take long for someone to drive down and dump a load without being noticed, unless we are ALL watching.
We did a River Ranger clean up on Saturday and by Wednesday night, someone had dumped nine cans of paint, four five-gallon cans of roofing tar and sealant, six large jugs of heavy duty oil, a car battery and a motorcycle battery, and more in a pile to kill off wildlife. They didn't even bother to place it next to my garbage can for easy disposal, they hid it in weeds about 50 feet away from the garbage can. I have pictures of these items on the Facebook group: New Ulm Now and Then. I am hoping someone saw a neighbor cleaning out a garage or shed or having a load consisting of these items.
There is also someone, almost weekly, who throws a bag of recyclables (mostly vegetable cans and milk jugs) down the cement under the bridge. I don't understand why they don't put them out on recycling day or drop them off at any of the dumpsters around town for this purpose. Why do they take the time to clean and seperate the recyclables then throw them into the river? This, also, is only feet away from my garbage can but I have to risk injury climbing down the steep, slippery cement to clean them up, and yes, I have fallen (more than once) in the process.
Then there is the issue of dead animals being disposed of down there. I have nothing against hunting if it is for the meat. But right now there are the remains of two deer and a garbage bag full of geese that were thrown down there. Freshly dead and untouched. I'm guessing the deer were too small, so they got rid of them in hopes of getting a larger one. The geese, maybe they didn't get them cleaned in time and they went bad, not sure. But this is not only pointless killing, I'm pretty sure it is against the law.
It's not just me finding these things either. It's pretty hard to explain to the River Ranger kids why animals are killed for no reason and dumped there while we do our clean ups, or to explain to kids that many adults are just too lazy to dispose of their litter properly and put toxic waste down there to kill off wildlife and pollute the river.
We will all suffer from the damage they are doing or if the road needs to be closed off like what happened out at Red Stone Quarries. Let's all work together and put an end to this!