Report By Volunteer Kent Morris
On December 10th, 2023 longtime ODA volunteer Karla Reinhardt led a small but mighty crew to clean up a section of the Brea Creek Channel near downtown Fullerton, California.
Our cleanup crew this day was: Kathi Aguiar and son Jack, Karla Reinhardt, Larry Salzman, and me (Kent Morris).
Karla led the adoption of this waterway for ODA through the Orange County Adopt-A-Channel program in January of 2018.
Fullerton is about 20 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. This might sound far away, but it’s imperative that we remove any rubbish before it goes further downstream and actually reaches the coast.
This flood control channel is designed to send storm water and street runoff into Coyote Creek, then into the San Gabriel River, and ultimately into Alamitos Bay. If not kept free of debris, this water will carry trash – that’s either directly left in the channel or blown into it – out to the ocean, especially after a major rain.
On this blue-sky Southern California day, 200 pounds of debris was collected, including lots of plastic and clothes left by a couple of homeless people who call the underside of a couple of the bridges that span this section of the channel their home.
We couldn't get one photo of all of us together so here's a side-by-side of most of our crew with the Catch of the Day:
In fact, we got to talk to one homeless person who lived under one of the bridges and at first he denied that any of the debris below his “living quarters” was his, but as we established a rapport with him, he asked why we were collecting all of the debris and it gave us an opportunity to explain to him how the channel drains to the ocean and how we were trying to protect the environment and only then did he admit that he had generated all of the debris in that particular area…
So not only did we clean up this section of the Brea Creek Channel but we were also able to educate someone about why we do it as well!
If you live in Southern California and want to be part of the next cleanup here, please email Bailey at volunteer@@oceandefenders.org