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Volunteers To Remove Trash, Debris From San Diego River

The San Diego River stretches 52 miles from Julian to Ocean Beach.
San Diego River Park Foundation
The San Diego River stretches 52 miles from Julian to Ocean Beach.

Volunteers with the San Diego River Park Foundation will be scouring San Diego’s riverbanks this weekend for trash and debris, and there might be more trash to pick up than usual.

River Cleanup Volunteer Information

River Cleanup at Big Rock Road in Santee

Volunteers will meet in the field next to the Santee Equestrian center at 7980 Mission Gorge Rd.

Volunteers should dress for working outdoors including closed shoes (no sandals). A hat and sunscreen are also highly recommended. Groups and families are encouraged to join. Community service hours are verified. To sign up or for more info call 619.297.7380.

That's because every time it rains, floating islands of plastic bottles, cigarette butts and grocery bags flow into urban storm drains. From there, much of the trash reaches San Diego’s 52-mile long river that starts in Julian and drains out into the Pacific Ocean at Ocean Beach.


One of the biggest cleanup efforts on Saturday will be near Big Rock Road in Santee, said Danielle Heckman, the Foundation's volunteer coordinator.

"There’s a significant amount of trash at the site," said Heckman. "Most of it is from scattered storm water debris and a few abandoned encampments. A lot of the homeless people do live along the river and once they move on, we help to keep those sites clean so that those products don’t end up in the river."

Heckman said more than 76,000 pounds of trash were removed from the river in 2012 with the help of 1,700 volunteers.