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Jan 22 2018

Cleaning Our Waterways: ODA’s New Adopt A Channel

By ODA Volunteer Karla Reinhardt

Greetings fellow ocean lovers!

My name is Karla and I’ve been volunteering as a deckhand with Ocean Defenders Alliance (ODA) for the past couple of years.

ODA Volunteer Karla Reinhardt

ODA to Clean Local Waterway

I’m excited to announce ODA’s latest project: We’ve adopted a flood control channel in Fullerton, California.

La Brea Channel flowing

As you may know, Fullerton isn’t exactly close to the ocean. It’s about 20 miles inland, as the gull flies. And it happens to be my hometown. Even though this channel is in inland, it greatly affects the ocean!

I’ve loved the ocean and its sea creatures my whole life. I also spend a lot my free time sailing locally. Like most of us who spend time on or near the water, I see a lot of marine debris like plastic bags, bottles, balloons and Styrofoam. A lot of this trash comes from our inland waterways. This marine debris can significantly harm marine wildlife by entanglement or accidental ingestion. And it never goes away.

Algalita trash on beachThis is an example of the trash that washes out from a flood channel. Photo courtesy of Algalita.

Instead of complaining about it (which I still do), I volunteered at local beach cleanups. But with the distance and my schedule, I wasn’t able to get out as often as I liked. That’s when I decided it was best to make a difference locally. With a little research, patience—and help from ODA—I adopted a flood control channel through the Orange County Adopt A Channel program.

What is a Flood Channel?

Flood channel exampleFlood channel example. Photo courtesy Algalita.Per the Adopt A Channel website: “Flood control channels provide a vital service protecting life and property by conveying stormwater runoff to prevent flooding of nearby communities. Along with controlling stormwater runoff, these channels also collect trash and debris and are subject to graffiti.

The main objectives of the Adopt A Channel Program are to improve the physical appearance of these channels, enhance the environment by removing trash and debris, and to increase awareness and commitment to keep our channels, creeks, bays and ocean clean. Adoption provides community stewardship for these important resources, and in return, Adopters are recognized for their contributions through signage and other means.”

Where is ODA’s Channel?

ODA’s adopted channel segment is part of the Brea Creek Channel near downtown Fullerton.

This flood control channel is designed to send storm water and street runoff into Coyote Creek, then into the San Gabriel River, and ultimately into Alamitos Bay, where I sail regularly. Unfortunately, this water carries street litter and debris to the ocean, especially after a major rain.

Check out the cool new signs with the ODA logo on Chapman Avenue, near both Highland and Woods.

ODA Adopt A Channel sign

A Great Opportunity for You

If we keep the channel clean, we can prevent marine debris from entering the sea. That's where you can help! We will be announcing monthly cleanups in Fullerton, depending on the weather.

Collected trashKarla's first cleanup! That's a lot of trash that WON'T be in the ocean!!

If you’re interested in being part of this worthwhile effort, please email us and we will put you on our Channel Cleanup Crew list!

You Can Help from Where You Are

Even if you can’t join us, you can always make a difference in other ways.

Pick up trash whenever and wherever you can. Avoid single-use plastic. Don’t buy over-packaged items. Don’t release balloons. Skip the straw. Any of these changes can make a big difference for a debris-free sea.

Thanks for being a part of our cleanup crew!

 
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