The 13th Annual Cannon River Watershed-Wide CleanUP was held last weekend.

Kevin Strauss, Community Engagement Coordinator with Clean River Partners (formerly Cannon River Watershed Partnership) was the guest today on AM Minnesota at Professional Pride Realty in Northfield.

Strauss commented, "We're primarily focused on the Cannon River and and all the streams and rivers that go into the Cannon."

How large is the watershed?

"It's almost a million acres actually," he stated, "The western end is way over to the Shields Lake area and a little west of there.  The southern end is just south of Owatonna.  The eastern end is Red Wing."

The Cannon River is a tributary of the mighty Mississippi River and flows through LeSueur, Rice, Dakota and Goodhue Counties.

Communities along the river include Cannon Falls, Dundas, Faribault, Morristown, Randolph, Red Wing, Waterville, Warsaw Township and Welch Township.

Tributaries for the Cannon River include Trout Brook, Little Cannon River, Straight River.

The Cannon River flows 112 total miles.

Cannon River Looking South From CR29 Bridge. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

This year's cleanup took place in seven different communities.  Strauss emphasized the fact that approximately 200 people participated in Waterville, Cannon Falls, Shieldsville. Faribault, Owatonna and Northfield with two groups in Northfield cleaning stretches of the river in Riverside Park and the Carleton Arboretum.

Some volunteers did take a canoe over a stretch of the river.

Strauss stated, "The most exciting thing found was a safe dropped off a bridge.  So the volunteers literally lugged that safe into their canoe and got it safely onto shore.  They dropped it off at the Northfield Police Department.  Apparently there was a robbery a few weeks ago and the police were interested in having a look at that and seeing what they could find."

Strauss went on to say, "We do find tires, we find grills, we find fans, which still amazes me that people decide that that's a good thing to drop in the river."

The effort took approximately 8,000 pounds (4 tons) of garbage from those seven points along the river.

I have a call into the Northfield Police Department to see if the safe provided any clues in solving the recent robbery.

"We find when we mention the word watershed that people are a little confused about what a watershed is.  The simplest explanation for that is a watershed is all the land that drains to a particular river.  So if a drop of water lands anywhere in the Cannon River Watershed it will eventually flow it's way right into the Cannon River. Folks who live on the Straight River get all confused and say wait a minute we're not in the Cannon Watershed we're in the Straight Watershed."

Strauss added, "Then we have to remind them they are in a sub-watershed of the Cannon River Watershed.  We know that litter that is placed anywhere in the watershed will eventually get into the Cannon and end up in Red Wing."

Litter at Rice County Road 29 Bridge Over Cannon River North of Faribault. Photo by Gordy Kosfeld

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