Sonoma County is known for its beautiful views and endless outdoor opportunities. Residents are lucky to have regional parks, lakes and rivers in close proximity. However, with the privilege of living near such amenities comes a responsibility to preserve and protect. Unfortunately, the Russian River—a staple within our community, is often treated as a dumping ground. These actions negatively affect the surrounding environment and diminish the river`s natural allure.
Thankfully, local groups have been established to combat the behavior of neglectful citizens. A leader in these efforts is Clean River Alliance. Established by Sonoma County Resident Chris Brokate in 2014, this organization is devoted to cleaning the Russian river from Hopland to Jenner.
Clean River Alliance has accomplished a great deal in its five active years. Most recently, they organized a massive river sweep ranging from Ukiah to Jenner. Hundreds of volunteers spent the day walking along and canoeing down the river, collecting trash as they passed.
The results from the clean-up were overwhelming. Official numbers have not yet been released, but to provide some perspective, a group of twelve volunteers alone collected twenty-seven tires and filled approximately twenty feed bags with various trash.
In a recent Instagram post, Clean River Alliance acknowledged organizations that assisted in the big event. “Lots of thanks to our partners Russian Riverkeeper, Johnson`s Beach, Recology, Russian River Adventures, Burke`s Canoe Trips, The Redwood Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Russian River Steelhead Society, Santa Rosa West Rotary (just to name a few) and of course, to all the amazing leaders who took groups all over the river.” The community collaboration surrounding the clean-up made it the success it was.
This event inspired a Copeland Creek Clean Up on Sonoma State Campus led by the Geography, Environment and Planning Club. Clean River Alliance graciously lent supplies such as grabbers, gloves and feed bags which allowed volunteer SSU students to collect a significant amount of trash. SSU and Clean River Alliance both look forward to potential collaborations in the future.