Mendocino Solid Waste Management Authority

October 2, 2014

23rd Annual Eel River Cleanup Coming October 11

For the past 23 years, volunteers have gathered at Pioneer Bridge over the Eel River in Potter Valley to pick up trash along the river from Scott Dam down to Van Arsdale Reservoir.

The annual event will resume on Saturday, October 11 at 9 a.m. under the leadership of Beb Ware, who organized the first cleanup in 1991 in cooperation with the Potter Valley 4-H Club.

Volunteers should wear sturdy shoes and bring gloves and hats.   Lunch will be provided by the Potter Valley Tribe, which is co-sponsoring the cleanup along with the Mendocino Solid Waste Management  Authority and Solid Wastes of Willits.

The Eel River Cleanups have been important in maintaining the quality of this stretch of the Eel River, which has easy public access and is heavily used for recreation.

At the first cleanup in 1991, there were only 10 young helpers who picked up a single cubic yard of trash.   Last year, Beb had 71 volunteers who collected 2 tons of trash along with 24 tires.

“That’s actually a lot less than some past years,” says Ware.   When the cleanup volunteers had to deal with decades of dumping, they removed as much as six tons and encountered refrigerators, washers, boats, mattresses, and even a broken safe.

Ware calculates that the past cleanups over 23 years have removed 67 tons of trash and 558 tires, with participation by 1,587 volunteers.

“It’s a lot of fun and it’s good for the river and good for the volunteers,”says Ware, adding that “It’s good for me too, it makes me feel good.”

Volunteers at the cleanups come in all ages, from young children to seniors.   Groups that regularly participate include the Potter Valley 4-H Club and Lakeport High School.

Ware, 69, has lived in Potter Valley for 43 years and worked for the past 15 at the state fishery station at Van Arsdale Reservoir.

“I hope to be involved as long as I’m physically able,” says Ware.

For information about the cleanup, call Beb Ware at 743-1525.

23rd Annual Eel River Cleanup Coming October 11