Although the weather was a bit sketchy last weekend, that didn’t prevent 750 volunteers in Washoe County from visiting 22 sites along the Truckee River to remove 77,853 lbs. of green waste, stencil in storm drains, pull invasive weeds, and remove 20,510 pounds of trash. More than 2,600 bulbs were also planted to help regenerate and restore the habitat around the river and in Washoe County parks.
“We had around the same number of volunteers plus/minus 10-15 people as last year which was good in regard to the threat of the weather,” says KTMB Program Manager Lorian McConnell. At the after-cleanup picnic held on September 28 at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, people were raving about how nice the weather was for the event right before the storm blew in.
In the City of Sparks, volunteers gathered at Cottonwood Park, Glendale Park, and Rock Park to help clean and restore some of the community’s natural landscapes. Forty-two volunteers gathered at Cottonwood Park to get rid of more than 1,200 lbs. of green waste and 320 lbs. of trash, which included removing suckers from trees and pulling weeds. Fifty-eight volunteers showed up at Glendale Park and hauled out 7,000 lbs. of trash and green waste while 50 volunteers at Rock Park spread pine mulch and wood chips to help mitigate weeds and insulate the trees.
“It is a big effort- it takes quite a bit of people to spread all that pine mulch and it requires some heavy lifting,” McConnell says. Two hundred pounds of trash and 1,500 lbs. of green waste was removed at Rock Park.
Not only were volunteers on land out in full force last weekend, fly fishers and the Sparks Water Entry Team were out in the water pulling out 500 pounds of debris, which mainly consisted of clothing and candy wrappers.
“Even with wind and cold, we had an amazing turnout of community support to clean and protect the Truckee River and its watershed,” said Christi Cakiroglu, KTMB’s Executive Director. “We’re so grateful to our many partners that make this cleanup happen, including our funders at the Washoe County Health District, Truckee River Fund, UPS, and REI. We’re especially grateful to all the hundreds of volunteers who came out to give their time and make today’s event such a success.”
McConnell says that in general, weeds and trash are the biggest threats to the Truckee River environment and that everyone can always do their part by picking up waste that they find while walking on trails or along the river.
“The biggest thing you can do for the parks is to volunteer with the City of Sparks or KTMB on these cleanups,” McConnell adds. And while a fair amount of illegal dumping is still going on, fortunately the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office has been catching a lot of people. Anyone who sees people physically dumping trash can always call the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch at 775-785-WCSO or 775-329-DUMP to report illegally dumped material. To help mitigate illegal dumping, KTMB also provides a recycling guide on its website at https://ktmb.org/.
The next KTMB community cleanup is May 2, 2020 where KTMB will focus on locations that are not necessarily along the Truckee River. Anyone is welcome to volunteer.