News Archive

06 April 2017

Celebrate Earth Day 2017!

Volunteers wanted to help clean up litter, plant trees and more!

Earth Day is Saturday, April 22, with many Earth Day events in Alameda County also happening on Sunday, April 23 or the following weekend. Join us in celebrating our area’s natural beauty and help keep our creeks, shores and the Bay healthy at one of many litter cleanup and restoration events!

Click here to find an event near you!

For more events beyond Alameda County, check out CalRecycle’s Earth Day listings.

Volunteers make a big difference. During last year’s Earth Day activities in Oakland alone, over 2,300 participants collected more than 215 cubic yards of trash and more than 400 cubic yards of weeds and green waste—enough to fill about 4,000 35-gallon garbage bags!

Keeping litter off the ground in our communities is critical to our waterways’ health. That’s because litter is carried by rainwater, street runoff and wind into the storm drain system. From there it travels into creeks, the Bay and the ocean, as stormwater generally does not pass through a water treatment plant. In fact, 80% of all litter found in the ocean originates inland!

The Clean Water Program encourages citizens to stop litter at the source by always placing trash in garbage cans or recycling containers, buying reusable instead of disposable products and minimizing packaging as much as possible.

To learn more about litter and other pollutants and what you can do to keep our waterways clean, click here!

22 February 2017

Clean Water Program Now Accepting Grant Applications

FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR PROJECTS THAT HELP PROTECT CREEKS, WETLANDS AND THE BAY

CONTACT
Jim Scanlin, (510) 670-6548

Alameda County, CA—The Clean Water Program is seeking applications for the 2017 Community Stewardship Grant (CSG) program. Deadline for submissions is April 12, 2017. The application packet can be downloaded at www.cleanwaterprogram.org/grants.

studentlittermarch-fosc-may2016-smThe Community Stewardship Grant program facilitates community-based actions that enhance and protect the health of local waterways. Proposed projects must be aimed at stormwater pollution prevention in Alameda County and contain a community or public outreach element. Grants are awarded between $1,000 and $5,000 per project. Total available budget is $25,000.

“Creeks, wetlands and the Bay are threatened by a lot of pollutants—from litter to automotive and garden chemicals that get washed into storm drains. One of the best ways we can protect our local waterways is by tapping into the experience, enthusiasm and creativity of groups right here in Alameda County, with the help of our annual Community Stewardship Grant program,” explained Clean Water Program Manager Jim Scanlin.

Eligible applicants include teacher and student groups, youth organizations, homeowners associations, community groups, environmental groups and other non-profit organizations. Activities range from creek restoration, wildlife habitat improvement and litter cleanups to public education. Projects focused on outreach typically promote stormwater pollution prevention practices such as litter and toxics reduction and proper automotive care. Outreach methods include art projects, events, trainings, videos and printed materials, among others.

Now in its 20th year, the Community Stewardship Grant program has funded well over a hundred grassroots projects. Sample projects funded in recent years:

  • Earth Team worked with students at San Lorenzo High School to plan and conduct two campus beautification events, including a trash assessment, litter cleanup and tree planting. Learn more.
  • Friends of Sausal Creek helped volunteer leaders at 15 sites organize workdays, student field trips, public litter cleanups and trail stewardship events, drawing 1,283 participants over the course of one year. Learn more.
  • Golden Gate Audubon engaged seven East Oakland elementary school classes in learning about waterways, wildlife and stewardship through classroom lessons and field trips. Learn more.

For more information about the Clean Water Program Community Stewardship Grants and projects funded in the past, and to download an application packet, please visit www.cleanwaterprogram.org/grants.

31 August 2016

Celebrate Coastal Cleanup Day September 17

Volunteers Wanted for Local Cleanup and Restoration Events

CONTACT: Jim Scanlin, (510) 670-6548

Alameda County, CA—Volunteers throughout Alameda County are preparing for the 32nd Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day scheduled for Saturday, September 17. The event is expected to draw tens of thousands of participants throughout the state, who will help remove trash accumulating on California’s beaches and inland waterways. In 2015, more than 68,300 volunteers joined the half-day effort, ridding California of more than 1.1 million pounds of trash. In Alameda County, volunteers can choose many cleanup and restoration events on or around September 17, organized by public agencies and non-profit groups.

Click here to find an event near you!

“Coastal Cleanup Day reminds us of the extremely negative impact litter—and especially plastic debris—has on wildlife and our water quality in general, and gives everybody an opportunity to be part of the solution,” noted Clean Water Program Manager Jim Scanlin. “The Clean Water Program encourages citizens to stop litter at the source by always placing trash in garbage cans or recycling containers, buying reusable instead of disposable products and minimizing packaging as much as possible.”

Only a small amount of marine debris enters waterways directly. The vast majority of litter found in the ocean—up to 80%—originates inland, where it is carried by rainwater, street runoff and wind into the storm drain system. From there litter travels into creeks, the Bay and the ocean, as stormwater generally does not pass through a water treatment plant. Litter poses a hazard to marine wildlife, entangling and poisoning animals that mistak the items for food.

Litter also brings chemical pollution into our waterways. Littered cigarette butts—made from cellulose acetate, a non-biodegradable plastic—carry thousands of toxins including 43 known carcinogens that are released into the environment when filters slowly break apart into smaller and smaller plastic pieces. Once ingested by marine animals, these dangerous pollutants accumulate as they enter into the food web, and potentially into human diets.

Click here to learn more about the impact of litter and everyday actions to prevent it.

19 February 2016

Clean Water Program Grant Applications Due April 14

Funding Available for Projects That Help Protect Creeks, Wetlands and the Bay

CONTACT
Jim Scanlin, (510) 670-6548

Alameda County, CA—The Clean Water Program is seeking applications for the 2016 Community Stewardship Grant (CSG) program. Deadline for submissions is April 14, 2016. The application packet can be downloaded at www.cleanwaterprogram.org/grants.

The Community Stewardship Grant program facilitates community-based actions that enhance and protect the health of local waterways. Proposed projects must be aimed at stormwater pollution prevention in Alameda County and contain a community or public outreach element. Grants are awarded between $1,000 and $5,000 per project. Total available budget is $25,000.

Eligible applicants include teacher and student groups, youth organizations, homeowners associations, community groups, environmental groups and other non-profit organizations. Activities range from creek restoration, wildlife habitat improvement and rainwater harvesting to public education. Projects focused on outreach typically promote stormwater pollution prevention practices such as litter and toxics reduction and proper automotive care. Outreach methods include art projects, events, trainings, videos and printed materials, among others.

“Pollutants like litter and chemicals are posing a serious threat to the health of our local waterways. With the help of our annual Community Stewardship Grant program, we can tap into the expertise and creativity of groups right here in Alameda County to help us protect our local creeks, wetlands and the Bay,” explained Clean Water Program Manager Jim Scanlin.

For almost 20 years, the Community Stewardship Grant program has funded well over a hundred grassroots projects. Sample projects funded in recent years include:

•    EarthTeam worked with students at San Lorenzo High School to plan and conduct two campus beautification events, including a trash assessment, litter cleanup and tree planting. Learn more about this project.

•    Old Oakland Neighbors transformed unattractive and under-used public trashcans into mosaic pieces of art, featuring local birds and plants, to discourage litter and spruce up the neighborhood. Learn more about this project.

•    The Alameda Creek Alliance led 460 volunteers in eleven restoration work days at Stonybrook Creek and Alameda Creek at Niles Staging Area in Fremont, and created a brochure to reach out to the larger community at events. Learn more about this project.

For more information about the Clean Water Program Community Stewardship Grants and projects funded in the past, and to download an application packet, please visit www.cleanwaterprogram.org/grants.

03 December 2015

First Rains Show How Green Streets Protect Creeks and the Bay

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 3, 2015

CONTACT
Jim Scanlin
Clean Water Program
(510) 670-6548

Alameda County, CA—As rains finally bring long awaited moisture to the parched Bay Area, a new generation of landscape designs in Alameda County help protect water quality and prevent flooding. These attractive solutions maximize the amount of water absorbed into and filtered by the soil, instead of gushing straight into storm drains, causing flooding and pollution. Known as “green infrastructure,” these designs mimic drainage patterns of natural landscapes by using permeable pavement and depressions in the ground that help divert water away from roads and other impervious surfaces. As a result, less rain water ends up as runoff that washes motor oil and other pollutants off streets and carries them into storm drains and then directly into creeks, wetlands and the Bay.

first-rains-press-release-smGreen Infrastructure like this plant-filled curb extension on Adeline Street in Emeryville help capture, filter and absorb rainwater runoff.

“Green infrastructure is a simple yet highly effective approach to keeping our waterways clean while also replenishing ground water,” noted Clean Water Program Manager Jim Scanlin. “When rain water is allowed to absorb slowly into the ground, it is filtered naturally by plants and soil. This process converts polluted stormwater into a much-needed resource.”

Alameda County is required to put in place a certain number of green infrastructure projects as part of the Regional Municipal Stormwater Permit. However, the county has many more such projects than legally required—currently close to 30. Examples include:

Adeline Street, 47th to 40th, Emeryville – Curbs were extended with gently sloped planted areas that capture and filter rain water running off the street. As water is absorbed into the ground, some of the gas, oil, and heavy metals that wash from streets are filtered out, adhering to leaves and soil. The curb plantings also beautify the area and shorten street crossings, making them safer for pedestrians.

Stanley Blvd, Unincorporated Alameda County – A 4-foot wide infiltration trench was constructed along a 3-mile stretch of this high-volume arterial street, located between the city limits of Livermore and Pleasanton. The plant-filled trench slows the flow of water washing off the street and filters it as it absorbs into the ground. California native plants chosen for their beauty, low water use and resilience improve aesthetics and provide wildlife habitat.

Bay Street parking lot, Fremont – The impervious surface of the parking lot was replaced with porous asphalt that allows rain water to absorb into a gravel bed below the surface, from where it can gradually filter into the soil, rather than being diverted by storm drains.

For more examples of public green infrastructure in Alameda County, visit www.CleanWaterProgram.org/GreenStreets. To read how residents can install green infrastructure elements on their private properties, visit www.CleanWaterProgram.org/DetainTheRain.

31 August 2015

Celebrate Our Bay, Creeks and Wetlands on Coastal Cleanup Day, September 19!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                
September 1, 2015

CONTACT
Jim Scanlin, Clean Water Program (510) 670-6548

Alameda County, CA—Citizens throughout Alameda County are gearing up for this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 19. The annual volunteer event is the largest in the state. In 2014, nearly 67,000 participants removed more than 1,190,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from California's beaches, lakes, and waterways. In Alameda County, volunteers can choose from a wide range of cleanup events throughout September, organized by public agencies and non-profit groups. An event calendar is available at www.cleanwaterprogram.org/residents/volunteer.

“More and more people are becoming aware of the extremely negative impact litter, especially plastic debris, has on wildlife and our water quality in general,” noted Clean Water Program Manager Jim Scanlin. “When people attend a cleanup event, they feel good about being part of the solution, and many come away with a new respect for the importance of always using trash cans because even litter from inland communities still finds its way to the water. We encourage all cleanup volunteers to help spread this message in their communities.”

Only a small amount of marine debris enters waterways directly. The vast majority of litter—up to 80%—originates inland, where it is carried by rainwater, street runoff and wind into the storm drain system. From there litter travels into creeks, the Bay and the ocean, as stormwater generally does not pass through a water treatment plant. Plastic bags and other lightweight plastic litter items are particularly hazardous because they float, entangling and poisoning marine wildlife that mistakes the items for food. Less visible but equally serious is the negative impact plastic marine debris has on the food chain: Plastic fragments can concentrate and transport chemical pollutants into the marine food web, and potentially into human diets.

The Clean Water Program encourages citizens to stop litter at the source by always placing trash in garbage cans or recycling containers, buying reusable instead of disposable products and minimizing packaging as much as possible. The Program’s LuvTheBay campaign invites Alameda County residents to pledge their support for a litter-free Bay by uploading a photo to the online photo mosaic at LuvTheBay.org or sharing it via Instagram or Twitter with #luvthebay. After Coastal Cleanup day the photo mosaic will be printed and displayed at locations throughout the county.

15 April 2015

Interactive Photo Mosaic Lets Alameda County Residents Show They LuvTheBay

Pledge to Keep Litter Off Streets, Creeks and the Bay at www.LuvTheBay.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 16, 2015

Contact:
Jim Scanlin, Tel. (510) 670-6548

Alameda County, CA— A photo mosaic project launches today with the goal of encouraging people in Alameda County to pledge to eliminate littering. Litter leads to water pollution, even when found in communities located far from the Bay. Clean Water Program Alameda County’s LuvTheBay Mosaic project asks residents to submit a photo of themselves as a pledge to LuvTheBay at www.LuvTheBay.org. On the site, people will be able to search the mosaic and share and vote for their favorite photos.

mosaic-01

The finished mural will be printed and displayed around Alameda County in late 2015. The image for the mural was created by Berkeley-based artist Christopher Peterson.

“California’s drought has heightened public awareness of the importance of water,”
noted Clean Water Program Manager Jim Scanlin. “We felt it was a good time to encourage folks to keep the water we do have clean and litter-free.” The LuvTheBay Mosaic will visually demonstrate the public’s commitment to keeping their neighborhoods, creeks, and the Bay free of litter. Each person submitting a photo to the LuvtheBay Mosaic pledges to always use recycling or garbage cans.

Litter is a big problem for Alameda County waterways. Commonly littered items, such as fast-food packaging, plastic wrappers and cigarette butts, degrade slowly, are toxic to wildlife and harm water quality. Alameda County jurisdictions spend approximately $24 million every year on litter and storm drain cleanup. Litter also reduces quality of life and attracts more litter if left on streets and sidewalks.

How to Submit to the #LuvtheBay Mosaic

To submit a photo to the LuvTheBay mosaic, visit www.LuvTheBay.org or post a photo to Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #LuvTheBay. The submission period runs through September 30, 2015 – after local Coastal Clean Up Day events conclude.

luvthebayThe interactive photo mosaic #LuvTheBay lets citizens pledge to eliminate litter by uploading a photo of themselves.

10 July 2013

"Waterful" Summer Outings Only Minutes from Home

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 10, 2013

CONTACT
Jim Scanlin, Clean Water Program
(510) 670-6548

our-waterful-world-200Clean Water Program's free guide features aquatic beauty in Alameda County

Alameda County, CA - In time for planning summer outings, the Clean Water Program has released "Our Waterful World," a guide to enjoying the beauty of water in Alameda County. The free publication features waterscapes throughout the county, all within easy reach, including beaches, creeks, lakes and wetlands. Suggested activities cover a wide range of interests, from hiking and biking to nature observation, picnicking, boating and fishing.

The guide is available for download or as an interactive map at www.cleanwaterprogram.org/parks.

"Here in the Bay Area, we're lucky to have such an abundance of aquatic beauty right at our doorsteps, and we're excited to share some of our favorite spots," commented Clean Water Program Manager Jim Scanlin. "Ultimately, this is what the Program is working to protect--clean and healthy waterways for everybody to enjoy."

One of the key factors negatively affecting creeks, wetlands and the Bay is polluted water from rain and irrigation entering the storm drain system. Since storm drains lead directly to local waterways without any treatment, it is critical to allow only rain down storm drains. Residents can help prevent pollution with simple, everyday actions:

  • Always place trash in garbage cans or bring a bag to stash it and take home. Pick up litter to prevent it from getting washed into storm drains.
  • Consider commercial car washes instead of washing cars on the curb or in the driveway where dirty wash water can enter the storm drains.
  • Control garden pests with non-toxic alternatives instead of conventional pesticides. Explore these fact sheets for more information.
  • Sweep driveways and sidewalks instead of hosing them down.
  • Pick up animal wastes, wrap well and dispose of in garbage cans.

For more tips and information visit www.cleanwaterprogram.org or follow the Clean Water Program on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CleanWaterProgram.