July 24, 2014

A Successful Earth Day Creek Clean-Up

 

TOPANGA, CA—This year's Earth Day Creek Clean-Up in Topanga Creek was a success.

On Saturday, April 19, 17 volunteers of all ages gathered together with the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains (RCDSMM) Watershed Stewards Project, and Topanga Stream Team to clean up the creek and celebrate Earth Day. Volunteers helped remove invasive plants like giant cane (Arundo) and Euphorbia, which compete with native willows and wild rye for space and water in Topanga State Park.

Other volunteers traveled along Topanga Canyon Blvd. to collect trash from creek banks. Every year this community event is put on to provide an opportunity for folks to do something positive and tangible for the Earth. The Topanga Earth Day Festival organizers provided "get in free to Earth Day" coupons to participants to reward their efforts.

This year’s Earth Day Creek Clean-Up contributed to the Lower Topanga Creek Restoration Project. This project is responsible for the ongoing effort to restore 12 acres of the lower creek and flood plain to a more natural and ecologically healthy state.

Restoring the ecological health of Topanga Creek can provide habitat and resources to wildlife such as California newts, Pacific tree frogs, California tree frogs, Arroyo chub, steelhead trout, racoons, deer, coyote, and mountain lions in the Canyon, many of which are threatened or endangered.

Steve Williams led the trash pick up, leading a group of five into action along the road. “We had a small yet hardworking crew,” he said. “They started along the shoulder at the bridge two miles up the Canyon and made their way down. There was a lot of construction trash dumped onto the bank, mostly tar roofing paper scraps. There was also some landscaping trash, including some large planters with dead trees in them.”

Volunteers collected bottles, cans, plastic bags, Styrofoam cups and fast food containers, CDs, car wreck detritus, car oil, etc. All this would eventually make its way down slope and into the ocean with a strong storm—a toxic mess, destined for Mother Ocean!

State Parks picked it all up in a one-ton stake-bed truck and the volunteers helped them load it. They filled the truck about 3/4 full.

Williams advises how Topanga community members can continue to help fight trash along the creek: “Please make sure to get dump receipts from laborers for any demo work or waste-producing work at your homes, or if you can, handle the waste yourself if unsure.

“This is a chronic problem in Topanga and enforcement is difficult. Report any suspicious creekside activity to the state park rangers by calling dispatch at (951) 443-2969.”

A huge thanks to all of our Earth day volunteers. See you next year!