Univ. of Minn. students clean up Lake Harriet

- Bicycles, a skateboard, eyeglasses, fishing poles and garbage barrels are all items that can be found at your nearest Target or Wal-Mart but on Thursday morning, a special clean-up crew found all those items at the bottom of Lake Harriet in Minneapolis.

The University of Minnesota Marine Biology Club took their lessons out of the classroom and got some community service at the same time. About two dozen scuba divers geared up to clean-up the lake bottom behind the popular Lake Harriet Bandshell where lots of boaters and anglers congregate.

"It really starts to impact the environment. Turtles might mistake a baggie for a food source,” said Melanie Woldt, a dive instructor. “With lures sitting on bottom, might snag fish. There's just a lot of things."

The assignment was simple. If it doesn't belong in the water, get it out by any means necessary.

"It's amazing what people lose down here,” said Megan Geisen, a club member.

It didn't take long to see the trash start piling up broken, jagged glass bottles, aluminum beer bans, eyeglasses, and three metal garbage barrels were found resting in the muck.

One diver pulled up a skateboard. Others struggled to get a once-nice mountain bike onto the dock. It was one of two bicycles recovered along with someone's now destroyed iPhone.

"Someone just - they didn't want anymore,” said Geisen. “Who knows? People throw things in the lake because they think it's one big, open trash can. But it does harm the lakes."

The Midwest School of Diving donated its services for the cause for their first Lake Harriet clean-up effort since Earth Day several years ago. The group is hoping their efforts can help keep one of Minneapolis' treasured bodies of water clean and safe for both man and marine life.

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