Around the Watershed
Lake Berryessa & Rio Vista Boater Focus Groups
Solano County Volunteers Stop Trash from Making the Trip to the Ocean at the 30th Coastal Clean Up Event
2,502 volunteers spend Saturday morning removing trash and recyclables from County waterways
Saturday, September 22, 2014: 2,502 Solano County volunteers took part in the 30th iteration of the State-wide Coastal Clean-up event at 60 sites across the county and at Lake Berryessa. to be part of today’s State-wide cleanup effort at sites on waterways throughout the County. Joining almost 100,000 other Californians in the California Coastal Commission’s 30th Annual Coastal Cleanup, these volunteers were part of an international cleanup effort to protect the world’s oceans from harmful debris making its way to coastlines from local beaches, waterways, and inland areas.
The day was dark and cloudy in Vallejo and Benicia, but there were bright blue skies over the rest of the County. Solano County volunteers worked from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm to remove a total of 32,061 pounds of trash and 2,354 pounds of recyclables from waterways across the County. 75 miles of neighborhood parks, hiking trails, bridges, creeks, and lakes are cleaner because of those efforts. 17 of the County’s clean up sites were “Zero Waste” sites, meaning the Clean Up event generated no trash of its own. To make that happen, 593 volunteers brought their own reusable equipment to the event. At all sites, volunteers collected buckets full of plastic bags, food wrappers, and cigarette butts while heavy lifters removed tires, paint cans, and large appliances. As always, there were a few especially notable discoveries.
The award for this year’s most memorable find of the day went to the Rindler Creek site in Vallejo. Doug Darling and his fellow volunteers found what appeared to be a stolen safe by the creek. Though an attempt to break into it had clearly been made by someone prior to its discovery by Clean up volunteers, the safe was still intact and locked, guarding whatever treasures it contained. Jennifer Kaiser, CCD Coordinator for Vallejo, reported the safe was turned over to the police. The scariest find occurred at the Lake Solano site, where the 14-person Clean Up team, comprised of a dive club, a kayak club and boy scouts, pulled a gun from the lake. That find was turned over to the police, too.
Steve Souza, of the new Facebook club Kayaking and Biking Vallejo, spent his morning on Lake Chabot cleaning up trash. Steve lives in Vacaville, but grew up in Vallejo. He enjoys creating positives activities whenever possible in the community. Steve was part of a fleet of 25 vessels and captains who volunteered their time to work on various waterways during the Clean up.
Douglas Longmire of Fight Back Vallejo has been the site captain in Dan Foley Park since 2007. He reported lighter than usual volunteer turnout at his site,t hough the volunteers who came worked hard and diligently. The lighter turn out trend at individual sites was seen across the county, though overall volunteer participation increased.
Sarah Graham, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, where there is an emphasis on serving others, volunteered to organize a Clean up Team at the request of her bishop. More than 65 church members, neighbors, girl scout troops and a boy scout troop volunteered, working at multiple sites. Sarah said, “I love how a simple thing like picking up trash to beautify our waterways brings people together regardless of faith or organization. I enjoy the opportunity to meet new people and expand my circle of friends. It was great to see so many people outside the group I organized out at the same creek to pick up trash. Volunteering with large groups is the best. The quote, "Many hands make light work" by John Heywood applied today. So much got done in such a short period of time because of the many hard working volunteers. My children were happy to be a part of something so big and have learned that there is joy in service. That is the best reward of all.”
“We had the largest number of Clean up sites ever this year,” said Marianne Butler of the Solano Resource Conservation District, who serves as Solano County’s Coastal Cleanup Day Coordinator. “Our volunteer numbers were higher than last year, though individual sites numbers were slightly down, and the amount of trash and recyclables collected was lower. We haven’t figured out exactly why that was yet, but we will.” Butler enthused about the hardworking volunteers who got up early on a Saturday morning to clean up their watershed. “They left the sites they worked on in much better shape than they found them. More importantly, those sites won’t be sending debris downstream and into the ocean. The plants and wildlife that depend on clean water and habitat – both in the County and on the Coast –are better off than they were this morning.”
Event volunteers’ efforts made a real difference to the watersheds they live in, clearing trash from creeks and waterways to improve habitat for wildlife and make those places safer for recreation and exploration. Narcisa Untal, Solano County’s Integrated Waste Management Planner was pleased with the number of zero waste sites, and the huge increase in the number of volunteers who came equipped with their own reusable clean up equipment. “Our volunteers always go the extra effort to make Solano County’s Coastal Clean up event a success. More and more people are participating in the Bring Your Own aspect of the program, making the Clean Up effort even more effective. And, all the new volunteers are great to see! These people make a real difference in their community, with hands-on involvement.”
Enhanced ‘zero waste’ sites were sponsored by the various Solano County cities. The number of volunteers who brought their own reusable supplies more than doubled from last year. Participation in the Solano County Cleanup continues to grow on the sponsorship side as well. Business and Organization partner donations for the 2014 Clean up include:
Star Realtors: space for supplies
Starbucks in Dixon: coffee for coordination meetings
Pure Grain in Vacaville: coffeecake for coordinator meetings and food for the for Markley Cleanup site
Home Depot in Vacaville: fifty 2.5 gallon buckets
Home Depot in Fairfield: twenty-five 2.5 gallon buckets
Solano County Water Agency: biodegradable cups for all sites
Fabrice with Morchetti coffee in Vallejo: 100 burlap sacks.
Genentech: 160 five gallon buckets
CalTrans: electronic messaging signs
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