On-the-Water Estuary Cleanup

Grantee: I HEART Oakland-Alameda Estuary
Project duration 2019-20
Clean Water Program grant: $5,000*
*does not include matching funds and volunteer labor

I Heart Oakland-Alameda Estuary is a group of water sport enthusiasts brought together by their shared love of the Oakland Estuary near Jack London Aquatic Center and the birds, fish and seals that call it home. Observing up-close how garbage and litter negatively impacts wildlife on beaches around the Estuary, they started organizing recurring cleanups that engage participants not only on land but also in dragon boats, canoes, kayaks, and other types of watercraft allowing them to access remote locations that cannot be reached on foot.

A 2019 grant helped the group fund two large cleanup events, each aiming to collect 1,000 pounds of garbage from the Estuary. The first event in fall 2019 by far topped this goal with well over 2,000 pounds of debris collected, including litter washed into the Estuary through storm drains, but also illegally dumped large items, garbage from homeless encampments and people living on abandoned boats, sharps, chemicals and more. In addition to cleaning up litter and restoring the Estuary for wildlife, I Heart Oakland-Alameda Estuary is building partnerships with local businesses, public agencies and schools to grow awareness of the litter problem and scale up solutions.

More grant funding for projects like this is available! Learn more.

Images: Mary Spicer

I Heart Estuary profile image


Film: “Doing Our Part to Clean up San Francisco Bay”

Grantee: Golden Gate Audubon (GGA)
Project completed 2017
Clean Water Program grant: $5,000

Land-based litter threatens local wildlife by accidental ingestion, entanglement and suffocation. One of the most effective ways to inspire and motivate effective ecological stewardship by local youth, is to communicate that wildlife depends on safe, clean, healthy watersheds. Golden Gate Audubon (GGA) used their Clean Water Program grant to produce a 17-minute film made with and for youth of diverse backgrounds.

Doing Our Part to Clean up San Francisco Bay follows East Bay resident Jeremiah Mellor and his friends as they explore the beauty of the San Francisco Bay and its wild inhabitants, and learn what they can do to help clean up the Bay and stop threats from marine trash. Working with local filmmaker and wildlife conservation volunteer Nancy Brink, GGA gathered footage and shot on location at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Shoreline in Oakland with local school children and their family members.

More grant funding for projects like this is available! Learn more.

Doing our part GGA video thumb


The Eco-Oakland Program

Grantee: Golden Gate Audubon
Project completed 2015/16
Total project cost: $55,000
Clean Water Program grant: $5,000

The Eco-Oakland Program was created by Golden Gate Audubon (GGA) in 1999 to provide East Oakland students and their family members with high quality environmental education opportunities. Since its creation, the year-long, watershed-wide curriculum program has served roughly 2,750 children in over 10 schools.

For the 2015 grant project, GGA brought a series of bilingual classroom and schoolyard lessons to seven elementary school classes fostering watershed stewardship values, pro-environmental behavior and teaching students about local wildlife and habitat. Each of the seven classes also went on two weekday fieldtrips to MLK, Jr Shoreline and Arroyo Viejo Creek where students conducted bird surveys, planted native plants for habitat restoration, removed trash and studied organisms to gauge the health of each ecosystem at the parks.

To engage the students’ families in stewardship activities, they were invited to join monthly habitat restoration events at MLK, Jr Shoreline. At the end of the year each class takes a trip to Muir Beach in Marin County where students and parent chaperons explore the inter-tidal zone, hike the headlands and engage in a beach clean-up after learning marine conservation strategies.

More grant funding for projects like this is available! Learn more.

gga 2015 project profile photos


Cleaning up Oakland’s Sausal Creek and Watershed

Grantee: Friends of Sausal Creek
Project completed 2015/16
Total project cost: $8,000
Clean Water Program grant: $4,500

Friends of Sausal Creek (FOSC) is a volunteer-based, nonprofit, community organization dedicated to the restoration and protection of Sausal Creek and its watershed.

Their 2015 grant project involved supporting volunteer site leaders at 15 locations throughout the watershed in leading public workdays, hands-on restoration field trips for local students, public in-the-creek cleanups, and public trail stewardship workdays. FOSC staff assisted site leaders with restoration and planning, outreach and volunteer recruitment, city coordination and tools procurement. FOSC also provided local native plants grown at the FOSC Native Plant Nursery to the sites.

Over the course of the one-year project, a total of 1,282 volunteers contributed 3,516 hours picking up trash, removing invasive nonnative plants, putting in native plants and addressing erosion and hydrology issues on trails. A highlight was a Student March Against Litter and Illegal Dumping through Oakland's Dimond and Fruitvale neighborhoods.

More grant funding for projects like this is available! Learn more.

fosc 2015 project profile photos


Removing Toxic Microplastics from Albany Beach

Grantee: Albany Landfill Dog Owners Groups and Friends (ALDOG)
Project completed 2017
Clean Water Program grant: $5,000*
*does not include in-kind donations and volunteer labor

Albany Landfill Dog Owners Groups and Friends (ALDOG) is a grassroots, volunteer community group that encourages stewardship at the Albany waterfront, organizing at least three beach cleanups a year, in collaboration with the East Bay Regional Park District. As documented by researchers, the beach receives deposits of plastic and other debris, including very small particles, possibly due to pattern of water currents in San Francisco Bay.

Their 2017 grant helped ALDOG organize a systematic “deep cleaning” of the approximately 600-foot-long Albany Beach, utilizing a dozen static charge filtration screens. The group launched a comprehensive local outreach campaign to educate residents about the plastic debris issue and to recruit volunteers for the one-day “Sift the Sand” event in October 2017. The inventor of the patented filtration system, from Sea Turtles Forever, joined the event to demonstrate the use of the screens and oversee the 115 volunteers—many of whom hope to form a core team for future microplastics cleanups.

Within 6 hours of work, they removed 2,440 pounds of debris. ALDOG created a short video and slide show about the project that document the work and system used.

More grant funding for projects like this is available! Learn more.

ALDOG sift the sand