WESPEN Online Order Form print this page
US Fish & Wildlife Service FieldNotes
SAN DIEGO NWR: Volunteers Clean-up River to Celebrate National Public Lands Day
Region 8, September 27, 2008
Volunteers remove garbage from Sweetwater River on National Public Lands Day. (photo: Earl S. Cryer)
Volunteers remove garbage from Sweetwater River on National Public Lands Day. (photo: Earl S. Cryer) - Photo Credit: n/a
Tischer family work to clean the riparian habitat along the Sweetwater River. (photo: Earl S. Cryer)
Tischer family work to clean the riparian habitat along the Sweetwater River. (photo: Earl S. Cryer) - Photo Credit: n/a

by Chantel Jimenez, San Diego NWRC

More than 50 people pitched in to clean up part of the Sweetwater River on National Public Lands Day September 27, 2008.  This was a true community effort since participants included local residents of Spring Valley, Rancho San Diego, and Jamul, as well as group participants from Southwestern Community College’s Photo Club and Environmental Club, Rancho San Diego’s The Gathering Church, Rancho San Diego Kiwanis, staff from the County of San Diego and the Carlsbad Fish and Wildlife Office, and Friends of the San Diego Refuges.

 

Organized by the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, volunteers hauled from the river hundreds of pounds of trash from illegal paintball games, taggers, and homeless camps on lands owned by San Diego County, Caltrans, and the Refuge lands near the old steel bridge on Highway 94.  We pulled at least 20 shopping carts and wood pallets out of the river and filled a 40-yard container to overflowing with trash in less than four hours. 

 

Many volunteers said they just wanted to help this area where they love to hike and ride bikes or horses.  But Trent Tischer of El Cajon, California, made this day into his birthday present!  When his family asked what he wanted for his birthday, Trent responded that he wanted them to join him on this clean up.  Trent’s wife, daughters, and parents all joined in and each worked extremely hard to make Trent’s wish for a cleaner river come true!

 

Thank you to Laura Guadalupe and Jim West of Caltrans who coordinated site access and donated plastic trash bags, litter grabbers, and a portapotty for the event and to Albertsons of Rancho San Diego for their donation of water and ice.  Kudos to volunteer Todd Stands, Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge’s Park Ranger Debbie Good, Friends of San Diego Refuge’s Gaye Lingley, and San Diego Refuge’s Law Enforcement Officer Fred Workman.  But the biggest cheers go to all the community volunteers for making an enormous difference in the health and future of our precious Sweetwater River. 

Contact Info: chantel jimenez, 619-691-1262, chantel_jimenez@fws.gov