|RRWA gears for ‘Creek Week,’ Medicine Roundup
Creek Week is a week-long celebration of our local creeks. Throughout the Russian River watershed, cities, counties and other stewardship organizations are coming together to declare Sept. 21-29 as “Creek Week.” This will be a time of fun, adventure and taking care of the lands and waterways in our communities, with educational activities for everyone at local creeks and nature areas, as well as hands-on creek cleanups. The activities planned during this weeklong celebration will draw communities together and bring us closer to the natural environments that support us.
There are more than 150 creeks within the Russian River watershed that create a rich and diverse system, which provide water supply, wildlife habitat, flood capacity, recreation and aesthetic values to all who live in and visit them.
Pollution, trash and debris damage the aesthetic and biological qualities of local waterways, impacting ongoing efforts to restore and enhance habitat for fish and wildlife. Over time the trash makes its way to the Pacific Ocean, where up to 80 percent of debris originates from land-based sources.
The health of our creeks and rivers depends on us. Take a look at what Creek Week has for you:
• Sept. 21, International Coast Cleanup Day: Sonoma Coast and Creek Cleanup – a full day cleanup campaign. Coastwalk will provide all needed materials and equipment. To participate, contact Coastwalk at 829-6689 or at http://coastwalk.org/volunteer/coastalcleanupday.
• Sept. 21-29: The City of Santa Rosa is sponsoring events all week, from family adventures and walking tours to naturalist field talks. Here are a few of the details: On Sunday, Sept. 22, you can bring your family to Olive Park for a fun afternoon of bug exploration and turtle talk in Santa Rosa Creek; on Monday, Sept. 23, back by popular demand, come explore the huge culvert that runs under downtown Santa Rosa; and on Wednesday, Sept. 25, join fisheries biologists and learn about fish lifecycles and interactions of fish species. For the full schedule of events and more information, go to www.srcity.org/creekweek or call 543-4246.
• Sept. 28, Rohnert Park Creek Cleanup: The Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps and the Sonoma County Water Agency are hosting a creek cleanup in Rohnert Park from 9 a.m.-noon. For more information, contact Ryan Pedrotti at Ryan.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 521-6209.
• Sept. 28, Russian River Watershed Cleanup: This is a full morning cleanup campaign along 55 miles of the Russian River from Cloverdale to Duncan’s Mill. Get involved by participating or contributing to this enormous effort. For more information, go to http://www.russianrivercleanup.org or call 887-2302.
Pull out your calendars and schedule some Creek Week activities. Our creeks and rivers need every member of the community to take care of them, and Creek Week 2013 is a good way to start.
Safe Medicine Roundup Week
In celebration of National Pollution Prevention Week, Sept. 16-20, the Russian River Watershed Association and the City of Petaluma are once again sponsoring the Safe Medicine Disposal Roundup Week.
During Pollution Prevention Week, the public is urged to recommit to the ideal of preventing pollution in their day-to-day lives. Unwanted medications should not be flushed down the toilet or discarded in the trash. When medications are improperly disposed of, they can end up in the landfills and water supply where they might harm wildlife and disrupt the environment.
Participating in the Safe Medicine Round-Up Week offers you an opportunity to help. By properly disposing of unwanted medications, you can keep the environment and waterways clean, and you’ll help reduce the risk of accidental poisoning, dosing errors and reduce the potential for intentional abuse of medications.
During last year’s Safe Medicine Roundup Week, more than 1,000 pounds of unwanted medications were collected. This program is available to residential customers free of charge. Please, no business participants in these special events. Ongoing disposal options for businesses are available at the hazardous waste drop-off sites. In Sonoma County, call the Eco-Desk at (707) 565-3375 or go to www.recyclenow.org.
How do I prepare for my visit to the drop-off site?
To help make your visit to the safe medicine drop-off site quick and easy, have your medications ready for disposal by following the steps below:
• Mark off personal information on the bottle.
• Place unwanted medications in a plastic bag (recycle your empty pill bottles at home).
• Keep liquids, ointments, lotions and creams in sealed containers.
• DO not mix-in sharps or needles with your waste medications. Sharps are a safety hazard to the collection site staff.
Items accepted at drop-off sites include: prescription and over the counter pills and capsules; liquid medications, including ointments, lotions and creams (in sealed containers); veterinary medications; vitamins, supplements, homeopathic remedies; medical patches; medical samples; and inhalers (empty).
Items not accepted at the drop-off site include: controlled substances; sharps, needles, epi-pens; IV bags, bloody or infectious waste; personal care products like shampoo or mouthwash; aerosol cans; thermometers; illegal drugs; medical marijuana; medical equipment; and medications and samples generated by a business.
There are no drop-off sites in Cotati or Rohnert Park, but some nearby sites and dates include:
• Santa Rosa Finley Center (Person Senior Wing), 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 2060 W. College Ave.
• Petaluma Senior Center, Sept. 20, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 211 Novak Dr., Petaluma.
For more information and a list of locations accepting expired and unused medications free, year-round call (707) 543-3369 or visit our web site at www.safemedicinedisposal.org.
This article was authored by Jill Scott, Research and Program Coordinator for the City of Santa Rosa Utilities Department, Susan Keach, Environmental Compliance Inspector with the Sonoma County Water Agency, and Daria Isupov, Administrative Staff Member of RRWA. RRWA (www.rrwatershed.org) is an association of local public agencies in the Russian River Watershed that have come together to coordinate regional programs for clean water, fisheries restoration, and watershed enhancement.