September marks several dedicated efforts throughout California that signify the importance of clean water and promote cleanups of local waterways. Pollution Prevention Week, Creek Week, and California’s Coastal Cleanup Day all coincide in the third week of September to encourage public participation in keeping our water free of harmful pollutants, with a primary focus on removing trash from local waterways.
Each September cleanup event is organized to bring volunteers together to clean up trash and debris from beaches, rivers, and creeks, to educate community on the importance of clean water, and to promote an overall appreciation of our environment, nature and being outside.
Make an impact by participating in Creek Week and Pollution Prevention Week. Here are some of the ways you can make a difference.
• Join a hosted cleanup event or attend an educational webinar. For a list of events, visit www.rrwatershed.org/project/creek-week. Check regularly for updates.
• Pick up litter and trash near your home, neighborhood, or local creek. Trash and litter in the environment can end up in our waterways either directly or through the storm drain system. When it rains, trash can enter the storm drain system, which moves water from paved areas to local waterways. By picking up trash you can help prevent trash from ending up in our local creeks, the Russian River, and the ocean. Even if you don’t live near the Russian River or the coast, your efforts will make a difference in protecting our water resource.
• Start a compost bin. Need help getting started? Check out our RRWA article archive www.rrwatershed.org/composting-dont-throw-it-away-compost-it or watch tutorials at https://zerowastesonoma.gov/recycle-dispose/residents/home-composting
• Discontinue pesticide and herbicide use in your garden with safer alternatives. Our Water, Our World helps residents manage their home and garden pests in a way that helps protect our watershed. Learn more here www.rrwatershed.org/project/our-water-our-world
• Dispose of unwanted household hazardous waste (HHW) responsibly. Check your local HHW Collection facility for events: Sonoma County https://zerowastesonoma.gov/recycle-dispose/residents/hhw-collection-events Mendocino County
• Pick up pet waste.
• Pick up leaf litter and yard waste to prevent it from clogging the storm drain.
• When washing your car, don’t allow wash water to enter the storm drain.
• Drop off unused and unwanted medications at a safe medicine disposal location. For location information visit www.rrwatershed.org/project/safe-medicine-disposal
Show us your impact! As a way to show your participation, log cleanup efforts using a trash collection app. Some options are Litterati – The Global Team Cleaning the Planet and CleanSwell – A Global Movement to Keep Beaches, Waterways and the Ocean Trash Free. By entering the amount of trash collected and the location collected, you can help us record the success of Creek Week volunteers.
These are just some ideas how you can help protect the environment. For more information on these and other ideas visit the Russian River watershed website at www.rrwatershed.org. Remember, September signifies the designated month to promote the importance of our local rivers and creeks, but these ideas to protect the environment can be implemented all year long.
This article was authored by Colleen Hunt, for the City of Cotati, on behalf of RRWA. RRWA is an association of local public agencies in the Russian River Watershed that have come together to coordinate regional programs for clean water, habitat restoration, and watershed enhancement.