Volunteers are needed at nearly a dozen East County hubs for this year’s 17th Annual Creek to Bay Cleanup, hosted by the I Love A Clean San Diego environmental group.
The cleanups at 11 sites, from Alpine to Spring Valley, run from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday, April 27. They are part of a countywide cleanup being held at 114 sites to clear trash from public places in order to keep local waterways pollution-free.
The East County sites are at Alpine Creek; Flinn Springs County Park and Forester Creek in El Cajon; Lindo Lake and San Vicente Creek in Lakeside; Alvarado Channel, University Channel and Lake Murray in La Mesa; the Lemon Grove Community Center; Santee Lakes and Mount Miguel High School in Spring Valley.
I Love A Clean San Diego spokeswoman Becca Kuntz said 6,463 volunteers removed more than 145,000 pounds of litter and debris last year.
Kuntz said that trash removal is a main focus of the event, but volunteers will also be “enhancing their communities through beautification projects.” Those projects include green waste removal, painting park structures, graffiti removal and mulching. The beautification projects restore local outdoor areas and inspire a strong sense of community pride, she said.
The San Diego River Park Foundation is one of the groups overseeing some of the cleanups and has partnered with the city of El Cajon to clear out Forester Creek.
The Annual Creek to Bay Cleanup “is a great reminder that our region’s creeks, canyons and rivers are also impacted by trash,” San Diego River Park Foundation spokeswoman Sarah Hutmacher said.
“Marine debris is a well-covered problem,” she said. “But recent estimates are that up to 80 percent of marine debris comes from inland sources. And not only does this ultimately affect the ocean, this debris impacts habitat and water quality along important waterways like the San Diego River and other tributaries in East County.
“The river is also home to many sensitive and endangered species, provides access to nature and recreation, and plays an important role in our county’s drinking water system.”
Registration opened April 1. Those interested in volunteering can select a site and register at CreektoBay.org