Volunteers cleaning up around the Lake of the Ozarks removed 130 tons of trash and debris this spring, and are actually happy at how small that number is.

That’s half as much garbage as was found at the same time in 2009.

“We had numerous groups that reported they had never seen the lake this clean and it let them go into areas that they historically had to bypass,” said Bryan Vance, the Shoreline Management Field Coordinator.

Vance says the foam has historically been the number one source of man-made debris in the lake.

“That’s broken off from a dock. It’s the old white Styrofoam or blue or orange Styrofoam. With our new encapsulated foam requirements we’re not seeing that material out in the lake like we have in years past,” Vance said.

The volunteers were able reach up small pockets and coves now to do a deeper clean, because there wasn’t as much foam material in their way. The ban on non-encapsulated dock foam went into effect two years ago.

“We’re just finding those residual pieces that were in the backs of small pockets and areas that had never been cleaned before, and we’re hoping that even next year we’ll have even less debris removed from the lake,” Vance said.

Even though it wasn’t measured specifically, he also believes there was less trash found during the Spring Shoreline clean-up. He thinks people are being more responsible in disposing their waste.

“You see people throughout the year out on their shoreline cleaning up the stray pop bottle or debris that may have blow out of someone’s boat. I think there’s a lot better public awareness of, if you bring it to the lake, you ought to take it out of the lake,” Vance said.

This was the 19th annual ‘Spring Shoreline Beautification Cleanup.’ Vance says there is a month-long event at the lake in both the spring and the fall.

“We had 750 people out cleaning over 500 miles of shoreline the community is just really dedicated to keeping the lake clean,” Vance said.

For information on assisting on future clean-ups, or participating in AmerenUE’s Adopt-the-Shoreline program, call (573) 365-9252.

AUDIO: Ryan Famuliner reports [:63 MP3]