Event keeping local waters clean

3,500 volunteers collected 130 tons of trash last year
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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On Saturday morning local residents can help get trash out of waterways and surrounding areas. The Sierra Nevada Conservancy is hosting its second annual Great Sierra River Cleanup along with several other local organizations including Protect American River Canyons, Upper American River Foundation, Placer Land Trust and Auburn State Recreation Area. The effort is also being held in cooperation with the 26th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day, which includes cleanup sites up and down the state. The event is scheduled from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday at various sites in Placer County. Brittany Juergenson, event project manager for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, said the cleanup is necessary because our local waterways affect a large portion of the state. “The event is important because, for the most part, 65 percent of the water for the entire state of California originates in the Sierra Nevada,” Juergenson said. At last year’s event, 3,500 volunteers turned out to pull various things out of the water and related ground areas, Juergenson said. Eric Peach, coordinator for Protect American River Canyons, which has three cleanup sites scheduled for Saturday, said his group has pulled couches, electronics and even a jet ski out from under the Foresthill Bridge. Last year volunteers for the Great Sierra River Cleanup statewide pulled 130 tons of trash out of waterways in three hours, according to Juergenson. Juergenson said those who want to volunteer could contact local coordinators and sign up. Although it is a family-friendly event, people with young children should let their coordinators know ahead of time, because certain cleanup sites might be more be suited to children. Protect American River Canyons’ event starts at 8 a.m. and ends at 1 p.m. Volunteers should meet at the Auburn-Foresthill Bridge near the confluence. Work will then take place in various parts of the area. The Placer Land Trust has two worksites. Volunteers should check in at 8:30 a.m. at each site. One site is located at Taylor Ranch Preserve on Orr Creek Lane in Auburn, and the second at Miner’s Ravine in Roseville. Volunteers for the Roseville site should meet in the United Artists Theater parking lot at the corner of Eureka and North Sunrise. The Upper American River Foundation is holding its cleanup around Sugar Pine Reservoir. Volunteers should meet at 8 a.m. at the U.S. Forest Service Office in Foresthill on Foresthill Road, about 15 miles beyond the bridge. The cleanup day acts as an awareness campaign for residents to see what makes it into our water systems, Juergenson said. “People genuinely want to do the right thing, so this gives them on opportunity to get involved with other people in their community to do the right thing,” she said. Juergenson said the Conservancy is encouraging volunteers to bring their own cleanup supplies this year to cut down on the environmental impact of producing bags. Residents can bring old five-gallon buckets or grocery bags, which will then be emptied and refilled as needed. Volunteers should also wear sturdy gardening gloves, close-toed shoes, a hat or sunscreen and bring a water bottle, Juergenson said. William Templin, coordinator for the Upper American River Foundation cleanup, said the organization has held its own events in the past and sees a large amount of trash. “We have been doing this now for several years and what you find in the Upper American River is a lot of illegal dumping,” Templin said. Templin said a lot of irresponsible shooters leave behind debris used for target practice including things like refrigerators and propane tanks. “That’s a lot of what we are going to be picking up on Saturday,” Templin said. Jessica Aviña, coordinator for the Placer Land Trust cleanups, said this is the group’s second year of participating in this type of event. “Part of our mission is stewardship of land and watersheds, so it’s a really good match for our organization,” Aviña said. Meadow Vista resident Patrice Taylor, who is volunteering at her first cleanup this weekend, said she is looking forward to the end result of getting trash away from the stream at the Taylor Ranch Preserve site. “It’s the basics of water quality,” Taylor said. “If you have any kind of material that will leech out … it gets into the water (system) and that is not good for anybody.” Mara Noelle, who is volunteering at the Upper American River cleanup, said she thinks projects like this one help “heal the earth in small, incremental ways.” “I think it’s important just for the community to be involved, and it’s also important to educate our young people.” Reach Bridget Jones at ------------------------------------------------------ How to volunteer for the Great Sierra River Cleanup Visit the Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s website at to find out which cleanup site is right for you. Call: Eric Peach at (530) 885-8878 to volunteer with Protect American River Canyons, William Templin at (916) 601-9954 to volunteer with the Upper American River Foundation, Jessica Aviña at (530) 887-9222 to volunteer with the Placer Land Trust.