Monday, September 10, 2012

A good weekend to clean up waterways we love

A fine selection of beverages from the lower American River (note muck rake, it came in handy) 
(9/16 update)
They say that one man's trash is another man's treasure. Can't say we found any treasure, but any day that helps restore a river's beauty is priceless.  Less than three hours of  kayaking a short stretch of the lower American River on Saturday (9/15) during the annual Great American River Cleanup produced more than five large bags of garbage -- plus an inflatable mattress, discarded life jacket, and chunks of styrofoam.

Scuba divers scoured the riverbed below San Juan rapids as rafters floated by

Kayakers take note: This is also a great way to practice your boat control strokes and manuevers without getting bored. It didn't take us long to start a game of corraling errant

beer cans and bottles, and competing to find the most unusual alcohol container. (Winner was a fancy decanter of El Patron tequila-coffee mix, for folks who want to get hammered yet remain alert.)

Boom box, tire, Razor scooter, and a cart recovered by American River Parkway Foundation volunteers
And while there were no treasures, it was interesting to note the litter-styles of the rude and trashy. Budweiser seems to be the No. 1 beer, followed by Coors.  There was the occasional personal undergarment, so it must have been quite a party. And a nearly new camo sun hat, which came in handy since NorCal Yak pal Carol had forgotten her own. Hey, who says you can't find a little treasure?
 (Join the American River Parkway Foundation.)

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The equivalent of about five Toyota Camrys. Or three Chevy Tahoes. That’s how many pounds of garbage was pulled out of the water last year during the annual Great American River Cleanup in Sacramento. This year’s cleanup is coming up on Saturday (9/15), one of many such events around Northern California.

Bobbing for trash (photo from American River Parkway Foundation)
With 23 miles of waterway and open space, the American River Parkway receives up to 8 million visitors a year. Unfortunately, some thoughtlessly leave their trash behind. Here’s a chance to tidy up our collective backyard and give a little back to nature during “California River Cleanup Month.”

The American River cleanup runs from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday at more than 20 spots along the lower river. See the American River Parkway Foundation and then click on the cleanup graphic to link to details and signups.

The City of Lodi will be looking for volunteers at Lodi Lake on Saturday. For a list of San Joaquin cleanup sites, consult this page. At Lake Berryessa, kayakers will pair up with divers to remove trash from the lake, reports Ranger Victoria Bevolden. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the Pope Creek Bridge area. Contact Robin Metoxen  ( for more details. And here’s an online state map with links to communities with cleanup activities. For more general cleanup info, also see Friends of the River.