On Oct. 26, The San Diego River Park Foundation organized a major cleanup effort to tackle all trash sites along seven miles of the San Diego River from Dog Beach to the site of the future Discovery Center at Grant Park at Qualcomm Way. This effort is part of the annual “Clean Sweep” river cleanup.
Earlier this month, more than 100 San Diego River Park Foundation volunteers completed a comprehensive survey of the lower 20.5 miles of the San Diego River to document trash locations. During these surveys, over 180 trash sites were identified and mapped in the seven-mile section of the riverbed.
In response to this environmental threat, the Foundation, in partnership with the City of San Diego’s “Clean SD” initiative, mobilized dedicated community volunteers, public agencies like MTS and Caltrans, and private property owners to remove all accessible sites by the end of October.
The two-week clean-up effort culminated on Oct. 26 with more than 200 volunteers including Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer showing up to remove all of the identified debris. Results from the effort include:
- 24,257 pounds of trash removed
- 1,202.5 hours of service by volunteers (value: $36,000+)
- 7 miles of clean San Diego River!
“This is a perfect example of the power of volunteers, and the power of collaboration,” said Rob Hutsel, President and CEO of the San Diego River Park Foundation. “As we move into rainy season, it is more important than ever to remove this debris before it enters the waterway where it can lower water quality, harm wildlife, cause flooding, and be very difficult to remove. This remarkable effort inspires us to continue to push toward a Trash-Free San Diego River!”
“The San Diego River Park Foundation has been a fantastic partner over the years in our push to restore one of our most precious natural resources,” Mayor Faulconer said. “It requires a sustained effort by so many dedicated people to protect and preserve the river. Cleanups like this – along with everyday cleanup efforts by the foundation and city crews – are vital to its future.”
The few sites that remain are mostly inaccessible due to water and will be targeted in the coming months for special treatment. The San Diego River Park Foundation has a year-round program to document the health of the river and organize people to clean-up and care for it as trash is constantly being dumped, deposited or washed into this important waterway. Current condition is visible on the San Diego River Park Foundation’s trash portal: http://immappler.com/sandiegorivertrash/.
The program is supported by hundreds of volunteers and the City of San Diego, the Hervey Family Fund at the San Diego Foundation, Think Blue San Diego, REI Co-Op, the State of California Proposition 1 grant, administered by the San Diego River Conservancy, John Smith Earthworks, and Debris Box.