As summer temperatures climb and sweltering heat bakes the Central Valley, crowds of people flock to local rivers and streams to seek relief in the cool, flowing water. While we are all for people enjoying their local waterways (and our staff can often be found doing just that on our days off), we also strongly believe in the importance of responsible recreation. On a recent weekend, hundreds of people thronged to the Stanislaus River for an event called the “Pirate Float.” Seeing the opportunity to provide a little community service, one of our technicians took the initiative to set out eight of our spare trashcans along a five-mile stretch of river, and then later returned to haul the trash away.
Looking at this truck full of debris shows just how much junk might have ended up in the river if people had been unwilling to pack it out. While we’ve witnessed the unsettling presence of trash clogging rivers in the developing world, it’s good to realize that garbage can still potentially pose a big problem for river habitats close to home. As we described in our previous post, responsibility is at the core of the work that we do, and this is one small example of our resourceful staff seeing a need and finding a way to meet it. So while you’re out taking a dip in the river this summer, please remember to properly dispose of your garbage, or if all else fails, take it with you.