Collaborative Litter Cleanup Effort in San José Wins Award

Sept. 25, 2015
South Bay partnership and thousands of volunteers removed 100 tons of trash from creeks

Working with thousands of volunteers who helped to remove more than 100 tons of litter from South Bay waterways just in the past year, the city of San José, Calif., and eight partners in the South Bay Creeks Collaborative have significantly improved the health of creeks in Santa Clara Valley.

In recognition for this achievement, the Collaborative received the Outstanding Environmental Project award last Friday at the 12th Biennial State of the San Francisco Estuary conference. A total of six projects were honored. The projects showcased the value of partnerships in making remarkable contributions to the health and resilience of the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary.

The South Bay Creeks Collaborative includes the city of San José, CommUniverCity, Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful, Friends of Los Gatos Creek, Friends of Guadalupe River, Downtown Streets Team, San José Conservation Corps, San José State University and Clean Creeks, Healthy Communities.

“The success of this collaborative underscores that the health of our creeks is important to everyone in our community, and everyone can help,” said Kerrie Romanow, San José environmental services director. “Litter is a huge challenge in the Bay Area, but we’ve demonstrated that we can make a real difference by working as a team.”

The South Bay Creeks Collaborative has engaged thousands of volunteers from neighborhoods, corporations, community groups and schools to clean up South Bay creeks. More than 100 tons of trash have been removed from South Bay creeks in fiscal year 2014 to 2015.

During extensive creek cleanups, volunteers removed automobile batteries, litter, tires, shopping carts, clothing, and building materials. The removal of these items contributes to cleaner creeks and a healthier San Francisco Bay for South Bay residents and wildlife.

Student volunteers from San José State University have brought their experience from the creek cleanups back into the classroom. They developed articles and videos as well as organized and hosted a conference devoted to clean creeks, called the “Coyote Creek Howl.”

The collaborative also organized the painting of the Coyote Creek mural at Olinder Community Center, as well as the creation of the watershed-themed Art Walk through downtown San José that features five public utility boxes. 

Major funding for the collaborative came from the city of San José, Santa Clara Valley Water District, and a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Source: City of San Jose

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