On Saturday September 16, 2017, 1,740 volunteers contributed over 5,164 hours removing trash and invasive plants along Oakland’s creeks, shoreline, parks, and streets. Volunteers removed 162 cubic yards of trash, and cleared 253 cubic yards of invasive plants at 55 sites throughout Oakland. The most common types of trash removed included cigarette butts, food packaging, and single use plastics (wrappers, bottles, straws, etc). Oakland is cleaner, greener, and stronger for these efforts, which also protect San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean.
As part of International Coastal Cleanup Day, Oakland Creek to Bay Day volunteers joined with thousands of others in trash removal and beautification of waterways and shorelines across California, the nation, and in about 100 participating countries. In California, over close to 1,000 sites in 54 of California’s 58 counties hosted cleanup projects. With 65% of these projects reporting, the totals are 58,425 volunteers removed 293,727 pounds of trash and 23,126 pounds of recyclables!
Data from the California Coastal Commission shows that approximately 80% of all trash found in oceans and beaches originate on land, transported by storm water and creeks out to sea. This trash blights our communities and environment and threatens our own health and the health and wellbeing of wildlife from creek, to bay to ocean. Keeping trash out of our streets and creeks keeps our waterways flowing and clean. Oakland volunteers were instrumental in intercepting trash from creeks – helping their own sites as well as areas downstream.
Oakland Creek to Bay Day volunteers also removed invasive plants as part of habitat restoration projects. Removing invasive plants makes way for restoration of native plant communities that better support wildlife and stream ecology. In the heavily urbanized Oakland landscape, creeks are some of the last vestiges of remnant wild habitat and are therefore that much more critical to wildlife – serving as refuge, migratory stopovers, and corridors between open spaces and parks. Oakland volunteers from such groups as Friends of Sausal Creek and Friends of Montclair Railroad Trail are on the forefront of stewarding creeks, parks and natural areas in collaboration with Oakland Public Works.
Many deserve special recognition for the success of Creek to Bay Day 2017. This event would not be possible without the dedication of community site coordinators and supporting organizations who coordinated cleanups at 55 project sites. Oakland Public Works provided volunteers with tools, promotional materials, and debris pickup services.
The support from the California Coastal Commission, Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, the East Bay Regional Park District, the Port of Oakland, and Waste Management year after year is also integral to the success of the event.
Oakland Creek to Bay Day occurs on the third Saturday of September. Join us for next Oakland Creek to Bay Day September 15, 2018. For more information visit: www.oaklandcreektobay.org.