Compared to last year’s numbers, volunteers, tribal members and watershed Stewards dragged much less trash out of areas along the Klamath River last Saturday than in previous years.
Water Quality Specialist Koiya Tuttle of the Yurok Tribe Environmental Department, called it good news that less trash was brought out of the riverbanks this year than last year. Sponsored by the Yurok Tribe and the Watersheds Stewards Program in partnership with AmeriCorps, the cleanup removed 12,600 lbs (6.3 tons) of trash, according to Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority Administrative Assistant Kira Seymour.
“Last year, we had 52,000 lbs,” Tuttle said.
Watershed Stewards Haymar Lim and Kaitlyn Wooling brought shovels and tools to help, but didn’t find a lot of garbage. Lim said since the garbage in Klamath Glen would take only minutes to clean up, it was decided that volunteers would also remove invasive scotch broom and Pampas grass from the area.
Around 300 total volunteers converged on seven locations, including some near Weitchpec.
Tuttle said dumping near Klamath Glen has been a chronic issue for decades. He said years ago, even dumped trailers full of trash were overturned by floodwaters and spilled out. He said through cleanups, barriers, signs and attention, amounts of dumped material have been declining every year. Tuttle said the county and Code Enforcement Officer Dominic Mello have been instrumental in assisting with cleanup.
“We’re hoping to turn a corner soon and create change in this area,” he said, noting the lower numbers. “In some ways, we would like to celebrate that change and at the 20th annual cleanup and thank everyone who helped bring it about.”
For their help this year, volunteers were treated to a traditionally cook Salmon lunch at the tribal headquarters. Tuttle wanted to thank all the cooks for their efforts.
“We sent everyone home with a full belly,” he said.