gallinas_creek_near_101Coastal Cleanup Day is the highlight of the CA Coastal Commission’s year ’round Adopt-A-Beach program.

Tens of thousands of Californians come together to keep our coasts and inland waterways free of debris.

September 19, 2009 was the 25th Anniversary of California Coastal Cleanup Day (CCD).

On the afternoon of September 19, 2009, GWC lead a team of dedicated volunteers to clean up the North Fork of Gallinas Creek.

Coastal Cleanup Day takes place annually on the third Saturday of September and CCD is the highlight of the CA Coastal Commission Adopt-A-Beach program.

Coastal Cleanup Day Report – September 19, 2009
By Art Reichert

The 2009 Coastal Cleanup Day (CCD) was truly a ‘watershed’ event for the Gallinas Creek Watershed. We had more volunteers, and more sections of the watershed cleaned, than ever before.

The group I organized on behalf of the SVNA and the Gallinas Watershed Council (GWC) had 14 volunteers. We collected 18 bags of trash – 99% plastic – from the creek/ditch in the middle of Freitas Parkway, the banks of the creek below the Redwood Blvd. bridge, and from the marsh adjacent to Contempo Marin.

The real hero of our group was Steve Brandon from Contempo Marin: he walked the bottom of the creek/ditch in the middle of Freitas Parkway, all the way from Pier 1 Imports to Scotty’s Market. He was walking in algae and muck, with cars whizzing by on both sides, while picking up trash. Truly, a thankless job. He pulled out two bagfuls of trash. If he hadn’t, that trash would have ended up in the marsh downstream after the first winter storm.

Additional arms of the creek were cleaned by other groups:

  1. The fork that originates along Lucas Valley Road, goes under Hwy. 101, comes out near Paul Drive and Redwood Boulevard, winds behind businesses in the Northgate Industrial Park and joins the North Fork at the marsh behind Contempo Marin. The section along Lucas Valley Road was cleaned by folks from the Santa Margarita Neighborhood Association (Terra Linda). Our group (SVNA & GWC) cleaned the lower portion.
  2. The fork that originates in Los Ranchitos and runs between Embassy Suites and the Marin Civic Center Auditorium. Cleaned by employees of Autodesk.
  3. The main section of the South Fork that runs behind the homes on Vendola Drive. Cleaned by residents on Vendola Drive.
  4. The section of the North Fork beside the walking path at McGinnis Park. Not sure which group did this.

After pulling so much plastic out of the creek, one understands the reasoning behind banning plastic bags and non-returnable drink bottles. It is disheartening to see the low regard some people have for the health and cleanliness of the watershed they live in. To improve people’s awareness of this watershed, and its importance, is one of the main goals of the Gallinas Watershed Council.

It takes real dedication to do this type of work, so I would like to acknowledge of all the people who assisted me on this year’s cleanup: Elaine Reichert, Jon Hale, George Huber, Bill and Sandy Mixsell, Helaine Reiner, Steve Brandon, Louisa Arndt, Judy Schriebman, Karen Rehder, Alex and Tisha Kahl, and Tami Hull. Thank you all for a job well done.

Gallinas Creek Cleanup 2009

gallinas_coastal_cleanupAs part of Coastal Cleanup Day on September 19, 2009, GWC lead a team of volunteers to clean up the North Fork of Gallinas Creek.

The banks were traveled on foot and the creek was navigated in canoes and kayaks in search of flotsam and jetsam.

The event took place around high tide in order to reach the areas in the North Fork of the creek with the most garbage.

The North Fork of Gallinas Creek passes by the Northgate Industrial Park and where it crossed under Highway 101 the banks of the creek have been cemented.

Dozens of bags of trash were collected by our volunteers. The most typical items that were found were plastic water bottles and styrofoam.

A not so typical find included an illegal dumpsite with an abandoned truck and 20 foot container.

GWC encourages the City of San Rafael and the County of Marin to keep Gallinas Creek clean.

We are happy to report that the entire ILLEGAL DUMPSITE including TRUCK AND CONTAINER have been removed!