Volunteers wanted for Creek Week watershed cleanups in Sonoma, Mendocino counties
A series of watershed cleanups are scheduled for next month in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, and the organizers putting them together are looking for volunteers.
The cleanups are scheduled during Creek Week, which is marked by some California cities and environmental organizations during the fourth week of September.
The Russian River Watershed Association announced the series of cleanups set to take place between Sept. 17 and 24, presenting opportunities for eco-conscious volunteers to connect with the community while helping to protect the drought-stricken Russian River watershed.
With the Russian River watershed entering a third consecutive year of below-average rainfall and water supply levels at lakes Mendocino and Sonoma dropping to historic lows, the effects of drought on local creeks, rivers and lakes are hard to miss.
Areas of Sonoma and Mendocino counties consist of “over 150 creeks that provide water supply, wildlife habitat, flood capacity, and recreation,” according to the Russian River Watershed Association. But these important waterways are often subject to detrimental pollution from humans that impairs water quality.
If you’re looking for ways to help, here’s a list of activities taking place during Creek Week.
Ukiah Valley Russian River cleanup
8:30 a.m. to noon Sept. 17
Join neighbors, friends and family for a cleanup event hosted by the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, County of Mendocino and Redwood Waste Solutions. Pick up litter from the Russian River and its tributaries. Meet at Low Gap Park in Ukiah at 8:30 a.m. to sign in and get coffee. Bring a water bottle, sturdy shoes and work gloves. Pre-registration is required.
City of Healdsburg: Foss Creek cleanup
9-11 a.m. Sept. 24
Help pick up litter around Foss Creek and get two free meals provided by the Rotary Club of Healdsburg Sunrise and the Healdsburg Kiwanis. Meet at the Healdsburg Community Center for check-in and breakfast. After a two-hour cleanup session, an awards ceremony will begin around 11 a.m., followed by lunch.
9-11 a.m. Sept. 17
There will be teams across the watershed from Ukiah to Monte Rio with the main hub in Healdsburg at Memorial Beach. The Russian River Watershed Cleanup will feature opportunities for organizational teams and individuals to help shape the future of river parks, future trails and streamside habitats needed for healthy ecosystems. This year’s goal is to beat a previous record of 35,000 pounds of trash, 175 tires and 452 volunteers.
Select a location and register at russianriverkeeper.org/rrwcd.
City of Santa Rosa
9-11:30 a.m. Sept. 17
Prince Memorial Greenway Cleanup will take place at the Olive Park Footbridge near 1698 Hazel St. All ages are welcome. This restored section of the Santa Rosa Creek is in the heart of downtown with an active trail system. Large trees and deep pools are home to a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial species including heron, steelhead trout, and river otters. There will be a competition and prizes.
10:30 a.m. to noon Sept. 18
Join the City of Santa Rosa’s naturalists for a guided walk along the beautiful upper section of Santa Rosa Creek. You’ll learn about the history of the region, learn about plants, look for birds and wildlife, and observe several different stages of creek restoration that are improving the creek and streamside habitat. Footing is relatively flat but may be uneven along the way. Most appropriate for children ages 6 and up. Meet at Flat Rock Park.
6-7 p.m. Sept. 20 and Sept. 22
Take a twilight tour of the huge underground culvert and fish ladder where Santa Rosa Creek runs under Downtown Santa Rosa. This event usually fills up fast. Participants will descend to the creek bed down a slope and over large rocks and walk across the creek (the water may be several inches deep). Wear sturdy, closed-toe, waterproof shoes and bring a flashlight. Minors must be accompanied by an adult. Limited availability, and registration is required. Meet at Prince Gateway Park on Santa Rosa Ave.
10-11:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. to noon Sept. 24
How much do you know about the epic journey that your used water takes after it leaves your house? What happens to this finite resource and where is its final destination? Go to a tour of the Laguna Wastewater Treatment Plant and learn about recycling and beneficially reusing water. Participants must be ages 10 and up. Limited availability and registration is required. Two separate tour times are available. The plant is located at 4300 Llano Road.
Sign up for these events at srcity.org/creekweek.
If you do participate, the Russian River Watershed Association and the Russian River Watershed Cleanup are asking volunteers to post photos on social media with the hashtag #russianrivercleanup2022.
Friends of the Petaluma River
9 a.m.– 1 p.m. Sept. 17
Friends of the Petaluma River is hosting their annual Fall Petaluma River Cleanup on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. Meet at Steamer Landing park and wear sturdy, close-toed shoes. Gloves, trash pickers, buckets, bags and other materials will be provided, as well as snacks and coffee in the morning and an afternoon BBQ with live music and a raffle. Volunteers will be assigned to one of 15 creek locations.