Community members banded together this September to tackle the problem of litter in the Petaluma River, as part of California Coastal Cleanup Day. Friends of the Petaluma River organized the river cleanup with the help of the Sonoma Resource Conservation District and funding from the Sonoma County Water Agency.
A record 255 volunteers on came out and removed 4,972 lbs. of trash from 14 locations throughout the Watershed, including from boats on the River.
“Friends of the Petaluma River is dedicated to protecting and conserving the Petaluma Watershed, the largest intact tidal estuary in California. A clean Petaluma River provides everything from recreation opportunities to precious fish and wildlife habitat. We are thrilled to see so many members of our community pitching in to ensure the health and vitality of the Petaluma River,” said Stephanie Bastianon, Executive Director of Friends.
Friends of the Petaluma River is a nonprofit organization stewarding the Petaluma Watershed through education, access and conservation. Friends maintains Steamer Landing Park, home of the David Yearsley River Heritage Center, where River events and activities are held. The River Heritage Center is open Sundays from 10am to 1pm for free boat rides. Friends leads nature camps for youth and guides education based on the Petaluma Watershed through the Watershed Classroom taking place in over a dozen schools throughout Petaluma. More information about Friends can be found at www.friendsofthepetalumariver.org or www.watershedclassroom.org.
“Eighty percent of trash collected from our beaches and oceans originates in our inland waterways. It is so important that we work to stop inland litter before it reaches our beaches.” Said Christine Kuehn of the Sonoma Resource Conservation District.
The Sonoma Resource Conservation District covers 919,000 acres, or over 85% of Sonoma County, and includes the Russian River, Petaluma River, Sonoma Creek, Stemple Creek, and Gualala River Watersheds. Resource Conservation Districts (RCDs) are the state's only grassroots conservation delivery system that identifies local conservation problems and guides solutions on a voluntary basis.