River Sweep is Saturday

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Volunteers from Chicago to Grafton will gather along the Illinois River on Saturday to clean up the banks and beautify one of the state's top natural resources.

The annual Illinois River Sweep, coordinated by the Friends of the Illinois River since it began in 1999, begins at 9 a.m. and continues until noon. Locally, volunteers will meet at Forest Park Nature Center in Peoria Heights.

Registration is available at (309) 686-3360 or begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday.

The Peoria Illinois River Sweep began in 2003 and has grown from 10 volunteers to more than 400. In the last decade more than 500 ties and 1,000 bags of trash and various large items — includes couches, bed frames and even a telephone booth — have been removed from area river banks.

Volunteers will receive protective gloves and trash bags, along with all other items needed to clean the shores of our river and streams.

Peoria sponsors include Friends of the Illinois River, Peoria Park District, Illinois American Water and The Nature Conservancy.