Of the many gifts and benefits of El Niño -- several Northern California lakes that filled out noticeably, as compared to spring 2015, and all of that needed Sierra snowpack is delightful -- one recent plot twist remains less than positive.
There's quite a bit of flotsam/jetsam in and around the Los Angeles River, due to the storms. "El Niño swept through the watershed washing up months worth of trash into the channel," reveals the Friends of the LA River (FOLAR). Rather than fretting over this development, however, some 9,000 volunteers, give or take, will roll up their sleeves and make for 15 sites along the river's banks over three April Saturdays.
Why? Well it's in the very name of the event: The Great LA River CleanUp.
The first 2016 Saturday is April 16, the final Saturday is April 30, and the effort on April 23 falls closest to Earth Day, if you'd like to make pitching in a part of your observance.
What to do, where to go and what to see
So what happens? You sign up, so FOLAR knows to expect you. There are over a dozen locations to choose from, so ponder whether you'll visit Glendale Narrows Riverwalk or Bette Davis Picnic Area or the Sepulveda Basin Sports Complex. One note: The 15 cleanup sites are broken down by days, so it won't be 15 places per Saturday, but rather four or five spots depending upon the date.
Once you're there, how much trash will you personally pull out? Hmm. Will "a bunch" suffice? No?
Okay, check this out: About 25 tons of trash have emerged from the LA River during the cleanup in the past. That's tons, as in T, O, N, S, as in a massive amount of stuff that should be promptly vamoosed from the verdant, nature-important setting.
Plastics, vehicle parts, and random head-scratching items all make cameos.
And, for sure, the trash isn't just chucked. It's sorted, weighed, and registered by a team that's standing by. We all want to know what going into our main watery thoroughfare, right?
Mysteries are for novels, but real-life birds and fish call the LA River home. We need the full picture of what's happening, and that involves understanding the river's garbage.
Ready to lend a hand? Eager to see our waterway's recreational profile continue to rise? And for the creatures living in and around it to thrive? Getting even a fraction of that aforementioned tonnage out is a really big deal.
A big deal to your fellow Angelenos, and to the permanent inhabitants of the river. If they could send you a thank you note, you know they would.
But perhaps the general spirit of gratitudie will be found later this summer, when you spend a nice afternoon at the river, simply watching the feathered residents at splashy play, with no trash in sight.