This weekend marks the 25th anniversary of the Russian River cleanup, a volunteer effort to remove plastic and other debris from the watershed.

On Saturday, participants on foot and in canoes will scour the river between Cloverdale and Duncans Mills for trash.

Last year's effort with 250 volunteers along a 55-mile stretch of the river netted more than three tons, from plastic bottles to metals, TV monitors, sofas, tables, auto batteries and bicycles.

Since then, there are encouraging signs. People actually seem to be littering less and could be getting more conscientious, according to organizer Bob Clemens.

"We're not picking up as much trash as we have in the past," he said.

The cleanup is timed before the rainy season to keep the debris from washing out to sea and prevent it from winding up in the Pacific Gyre, a mid-ocean gathering of trash.

Some participants clean the river on Saturday and others return Sunday to sort trash for recycling.

There are a number of sponsors and supporters, including canoe and paddling companies, environmental organizations and garbage companies.

Students from Healdsburg, Windsor and Cloverdale high schools, and Westside Elementary are among the volunteers, according to coordinator Carroll Hirsch.

Various City Councils have passed resolutions declaring Saturday Russian River Cleanup Day.

They describe the river as Sonoma County's premier natural resource, providing water for agriculture, wildlife, recreation, residential and industrial uses.

Volunteers can show up at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at one of three sites: The Park and Ride lot south of Healdsburg on Old Redwood Highway; the Mirabel Park and Ride in Forestville at River and Mirabel roads; Guernewood Park, Highway 116 and Lovers Lane.

Participants are asked to wear sturdy shoes and will be provided with gloves, bags and water bottles. More information is available at, or by calling 887-2303.

You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or