Picking up trash near the Calder Creek outfall

Picking up trash near the Calder Creek outfall

The Sebastopol Creek Stewards tackled the lower reach of Calder Creek on Mar. 21 in our first official activity. We had six volunteers out, including my family.

My wife wrote:

The creek may not have looked too bad in the pictures, because we weren’t in picture-taking mode “before”—but let’s put it this way: I did not want our son to play on that sandy area before, and after, I was happy for him to do so! (We removed 6 or 7 large black trash bags full of trash and recycling from just the stretch of creek between the outfall and the railroad forest trail, a length of about 350 feet. To me, that’s a lot of trash for one little creek!)

Thanks to all who participated: Heidi, Jean, Rick, Peter, Geoffrey, and our son. We made steps towards increasing consciousness about the creek and its care. Many passers-by thanked us for our work. A person who camps along the creek was friendly and assured us that he keeps the area around his tent clean. The city, including Rich Emig (Superintendent of Public Works) and Sarah Gurney (mayor) learned that our group really wants to do something to contribute. And being out there in the creek gave us time to ponder further ideas…like raising money for additional trash cans (and the labor to empty them) or for a portable toilet (a complex undertaking, I’m sure), or maybe easiest of all–adding some friendly, low-key signage or stenciling to identify the creek and remind people to take good care of it.

There’s plenty more to be done – we did not get to the lower stretch of the creek from the Railroad Forest Trail to the Laguna. We look forward to partnering with other groups such as the Sebastopol Independent Charter School who may be interested in taking that on.

We finished up our project with a little cleanup of the Laguna channel around the trail crossing — via kayak. We had put in north of the Hwy 12 bridge before the others arrived and tied up underneath the trail bridge. Then after everyone else went home, my son and I maneuvered around the willows and debris to retrieve bags, cans, bottles and even an inner tube. It was hardly a comprehensive effort, but at least the view from the bridge is better.

The largest component was plastic bags, followed by bottles (both plastic and glass).  We also pulled out a headless Barbie; other toys; many balls (from tennis to soccer); decaying clothing and other cloth; and two pressure-treated posts.  There ‘s talk afoot about a county-wide ban on plastic bags, as well as a current CA Assembly bill for a statewide ban; based on the number of bags we found, a ban would make a huge difference for our creeks.

Check out more photos from this event.