Dozens of people headed down to the river in Colusa on Saturday, not for a fun-filled day of sand and surf, but to get their hands dirty as part of the eighth annual Colusa River Clean Up, sponsored by Premier Mushrooms.
Armed with gloves, bags, buckets and grabbers, these volunteered canvased a mile-long stretch of the Sacramento River starting at the Colusa-Sacramento River State Recreation Area.
Dennis Chappell, manager at Central Valley Gas Storage in Princeton, said he has been coming to the cleanup for the last seven years.
“My dad always said you should leave a place cleaner than you found it and that always stuck with me,” Chappell said.
Kevin Foley, Premier Mushroom Inc. sustainability coordinator and organizer of the cleanup, said this years cleanup had the biggest turn out he has ever seen, almost doubling in size from last year.
Jennifer Diaz, public relations for Premiere Mushroom, said there has been a decline in trash collected over the last few years because of the reoccurring cleanups that have been happening for the last eight years.
“At this point, we are out maintaining the trash that accumulates from year to year,” Foley said. “We don’t find too many big dump sites with washer and dryers and other big items like we did when we started this cleanup.”
Dustin and Santana King, of Colusa, attended the cleanup for the first time this year because they wanted to volunteer and help out, they said.
“It seemed like such a great event,” Santana King said.
The pair said they were able to pick up a lot of litter along the levee, including a rusty pipe and a safety sheet from Zwald Ranch that was dated 1992.
“I had no idea there was so much to clean up,” Santana King said.
Suzie Wagenaar, of Colusa, said she just moved to town from Stonyford and came to the cleanup to get out and meet her neighbors.
“Civic duty things like this are a great way to be a part of your community,” Wagenaar said.
While the amount of materials that was collected had not been totaled at the time of publication, volunteers hauled several loads of materials to the dumpster including pieces of glass, cigarette butts, half of a life preserver, a wooden dresser, speaker covers, a propane tank and several pieces of patio furniture.
Event organizers also arranged for a quad to assist in the cleanup efforts to handle the heavier items.
Volunteer Mike Murray, who came to the cleanup for the second year in a row, said the majority of trash his team found was broken glass bottles and lots of cigarette butts.
Foley saod Recology takes all of the materials collected during the cleanup and weighs it to be compare with other cleanup data collected throughout the state.
Next year, Foley said he hopes to have more people bring five gallon buckets to collect materials and cut down on plastic use in the future.
Foley also said there were talks to expand next year’s clean up and include a group of canoes to tackle things from the water.