SPRING GREEN, Wis. -

More than 5 tons of jagged steel beams and rusting cable were pulled from the Wisconsin River near Spring Green in early September, according to a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources release. The underwater debris posed a hazard to watercraft, boaters and other recreational river-goers.

A removal operation began in 2003, when about 2 tons were removed by Friends of the Lower Wisconsin River, an all-volunteer environmental group based in Spring Green. The project picked up again in late August and the river was cleared of the dangerous debris on Sept. 10.

The DNR said the effort was a collaboration by the community including donated time from volunteers and equipment loaned by area businesses. The state agency also said no debt was incurred through the project. A salvage yard was able to sell the steel to cover its disposal expenses.

The DNR, FLOW, McFarlane’s Hardware and Equipment of Sauk City, Wis., and Gauger Salvage of Arena, Wis., contributed to the project.

Steel remnants were initially spotted in the river in 1999. Though the origin of the wreckage is not certain, it is speculated it may be from a utility line downed 70 years ago.