Southeastern Iowa’s Des Moines River is now 40 tons of trash lighter, thanks to the efforts of 329 volunteers who took part this month in the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ 14th annual Project AWARE (A Watershed Awareness River Expedition). The project involves hundreds of people who spend anywhere from one to five days exploring Iowa’s rivers and picking up trash. Items removed included 329 tires, a motorcycle, a boat, a dumpster, several bathtubs, a car frame, bridge pylons, and much more. This year, 77 percent of the trash pulled from the river was recyclable. Scrap metal was the heaviest item removed, and one item volunteers were pleasantly surprised to encounter was geodes, Iowa’s state rock.