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Thursday, February 21 , 2019, 10:48 am | Partly Cloudy 52º


Creeks Clean-Up Program Removes One Ton of Trash From Goleta Waterways

Participants at the Glen Annie Creek clean-up held in November 2015.
Participants at the Glen Annie Creek clean-up held in November 2015. (Brian Trautwein / Environmental Defense Center photo)

Over the past summer and fall months, brave teams of volunteers have been venturing down into Goleta’s urban creeks in an effort to remove the vast amount of accumulated trash. 

Led by the Environmental Defense Center (EDC) and Santa Barbara Urban Creeks Council, volunteers were able to remove an astounding 2,069 pounds of trash from 10 local creeks.

After nearly 150 hours of volunteer work, over one ton of trash — full of plastic bags and water bottles, derelict homeless shelters, shopping carts and car parts — is no longer impacting our watersheds or threatening to pollute our beaches.

“It’s great to see volunteers coming out to support this effort to remove plastic garbage and litter from the creeks,” said Rick Frickmann from the Creeks Council, who helped orchestrate the Western Goleta Creeks Clean-up Program. “It shows that our community really pulls together to protect Goleta’s streams and sends a message that watersheds are important resources to be valued and restored.”

“Despite the fact that creeks flow through many of our own backyards, it’s not often that people have a chance to walk their creeks, view the conditions and actually get to do something about it,” said Brian Trautwein of EDC. “With Urban Creeks Council, EDC and our partner organizations putting on these volunteer events, we can really help fight pollution at its source.”

Funding for the 2015 creek clean-up program effort comes primarily from the Goleta West Sanitary District with additional support from Union Bank and Clif Bar Family Foundation.

Volunteers have toiled in dry open concrete channels, unlit highway underpasses, overgrown creek beds and remarkably (given the current state of the drought) flowing streams — all in the name of protecting our creeks and coast. 

Our local creeks are often the first to bear the brunt of illegal dumping, street runoff and other sources of pollution. By removing trash from our creeks before the winter rains, the Urban Creeks Council and EDC are ensuring that they both remain healthy and  picturesque and can still provide a home to our region’s wildlife. 

Additionally, by cleaning trash from the creeks before the winter rains, the groups ensured that trash is eliminated before it reaches local beaches and pollutes the water, protecting the health and well-being of beach-goers and marine life.

The Urban Creeks Council and Environmental Defense Center and its partners are beginning planning for the 2016 Goleta Creek Clean-Up Program with initial funding provided by UCSB Coastal Fund.

Betsy Weber is communications director for the Environmental Defense Center.

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