Many of California’s waterways are choked with trash that eventually ends up in the ocean. Once in the water, trash breaks down into smaller pieces that can persist in the environment for decades, polluting the water and harming fish and animals that mistake it for food. Russian Riverkeeper is tackling this problem by partnering with Clean River Alliance to remove dangerous debris before winter storms push it to the sea.
In June, while mapping invasive scarlet wisteria, Russian Riverkeeper found a large illegal campsite on a seasonal island in the middle of a Healdsburg creek. They connected with North Sonoma County Services to help move the camper to higher ground, and to teach him how to maintain a cleaner and safer campsite for both his own and the river’s health. Crews then returned to the campsite over several weeks to haul out canoe loads of waste before it was submerged under winter rains. The creek is home to endangered coho salmon, which are particularly sensitive to pollution while spawning.
California waterkeepers coordinate litter pick up year-round and work to stop trash at its source through initiatives like these. Learn more about statewide efforts to tackle trash.