Locals of Windsor will have the opportunity to join town staff participating in the 35th annual Russian River Watershed Cleanup Day from 9 to 11 a.m. Sept. 18.
Volunteers can sign up to clean any of three walking routes along the river in Windsor downtown and on Conde Lane North and Conde Lane South. Similar clean ups are happening throughout the county from Cloverdale to Santa Rosa, Geyserville to Monte Rio.
The event is put on each year by Russian Riverkeeper, an organization “fighting since 1993 to ensure a thriving river system and your rights to fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters.”
Russian Riverkeeper will provide gloves, trash grabbers and bags, and volunteers will receive an unspecified “special gift” for their participation. To participate, volunteers can fill out a waiver and register at a location through the Russian Riverkeeper website.
“It’s a fun opportunity to gather together with friends and family to show the river some love,” the website says. “The 2021 Russian River Watershed Cleanup will continue to remove litter from beachgoers before the winter rains wash them to the ocean. We can’t save the ocean unless we stop sending our trash downstream.”
According to a Town of Windsor bulletin, town staff will be participating in the event. “Join town staff to pick up trash on the streets and in the creeks to clean our waterways for everyone — humans, animals and plants,” the bulletin reads. “Your help is much needed to help keep Windsor's beautiful creeks clean.”
Across the United States, the third week of September is recognized as “Pollution Prevention Week;” California communities including those like Windsor in the Russian River watershed recognize the third week of September as “Creek Week.” The Town Council will proclaim its recognition of “Creek Week” and “Pollution Prevention Week” at its meeting Sept. 15.
The Town is a partner of the Russian River Watershed Cleanup Event, and the proclamation encourages all Windsor residents and employees to participate in the cleanup and other Creek Week events.
“Pollution in the form of trash and debris, chemicals from industry and everyday living, and sediment from construction and many land use activities all have the potential to degrade the quality of life and the quality of resources within the Russian River watershed,” the proclamation reads.
The Russian River watershed, which covers 1,500 square miles in land and encompasses 238 creeks and tributaries, provides water resources to approximately 350,000 residents, particularly in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, which are in the middle of a historic drought.
According to Sonoma Water, Lakes Sonoma and Mendocino, which feed the Russian River watershed, are at historically low levels following the third driest year in 127 years of record. Lake Sonoma is currently at 46.5% capacity, with Lake Mendocino at 26%.
Residents of Windsor, who are currently mandated to restrict water use by 20%, can go to the town’s water conservation page to learn more about how to conserve water resources.