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Colusa Coastal Cleanup organizers grateful for large turnout
The Coastal Cleanup on Saturday in Colusa collected nearly 12 times the amount of debris as last year — 720 pounds of trash and recyclables.
Twenty-nine people took part in the second annual Sacramento River cleanup at the Colusa Sacramento River State Park, which included a tour of Premier Mushrooms and a nature and river ecology walk.
Debbie Naylor, who works for the county and participated in last year's cleanup, said that this year there were 10 volunteers from Colusa County Behavioral Health Department, ranging from age 40 to 82.
"It was very small last year. What I like about this year is it is almost all local people. Last year, we had a lot of kids from Chico State," she said.
One man from Chico did make it back this year. John Harry, who last year was a marketing intern at Premier Mushroom, returned to help in the cleanup effort.
In a group with Harry were husband and wife Jerry and Betty Yarwood.
"What a cool idea, all of us cleaning up. It makes it fun. And it has been very well-organized," said Betty Yarwood, while holding two bags full of debris her group had collected.
Among the larger items collected were six tires, part of a washing machine and a recliner.
Betty Yarwood gestured at one of the bags she carried on her way back to the meeting spot and said, "This is a very worthwhile project, there's no doubt about that."
For the second straight year, Premier Mushrooms and Steelhead Lodge sponsored the Coastal Cleanup in Colusa. Joining in sponsoring the event this year were Tommy's Market Street Grill, Central Valley Gas Storage and Net Impact Sacramento.
This was Colusa County's second time participating in the California Coastal Cleanup Day.
To start the day, volunteers gathered at Premier Mushroom to tour of the company's facilities. Kevin Foley, Premier Mushroom's sustainability coordinator and the coordinator for the cleanup, helped lead the tour.
Participants were able to see the process involved in the indoor production and packaging of mushrooms.
"I participated in Mud Blast, contacted their coordinator there and told him about our event. I thought it would be good to work with people whose mission it is to restore the river," Foley said.
After the tour, the group went to the state park, where members participated in a river ecology and nature walk. After meeting up with representatives from River Partners, the group took a 15 minute walk in the rain from the State Park.
They were shown a recent riparian restoration project undertaken by River Partners, completed in 2011. Ecologist Michael Rogner spoke to volunteers about River Partner's mission and gave some in-depth descriptions of the plant life that his company re-introduced to the 145-acre parcel.
California's largest volunteer event — put on by the California Coastal Commission, saw participation in 53 of the state's 58 counties at more than 850 sites. Those volunteers collected roughly 251 tons of debris from our state's beaches and inland waterways.