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Ask Cities to Help Keep Our Watersheds and Ocean Clean

San Gabriel River trash bound for the Ocean-6/1/08
Urge Cities boarding rivers to prevent pollution of our waters.

Los Cerritos Channel, Long Beach CA
Sign posted next to the channel. At one time clams were harvested and canned nearby...for human use

Trash clogs storm drains and causes flooding of local streets, it gets into the rivers and washes out to sea.  Plastics and toxins washed from city streets into storm drains poison sea life and fish...including seafood we eat.  And who likes to see a bunch of trash down on the beach?

Click any photo on this page to enlarge.

Every day millions of pieces of trash plus polluted storm drain water travels from city streets through the storm drains and into our watersheds, eventually floating into the ocean. 

The picture on the left is the San Gabriel River about 1 mile before it enters the ocean. 

Write letters to local city governments asking for their help since most of this stuff comes from their city streets.  Some cities are already doing something about the issue but maybe there is still improvement needed.  For example in Long Beach some storm drain water is recycled and used to irrigate city parks...but not all of it.  Long Beach has storm drain covers in some places but not everywhere.  I write them and encourage expansion of water recycling and covers. 

Suggestions ranging from citizen awareness efforts, organize a neighborhood cleanup, better street sweeping, some method of keeping trash from entering the storm drains such as screens covering drainage openings, more frequent cleaning of storm drains, encourging cities to recycle storm drain water instead of letting it run into the rivers...or anything else you can think of...could help.

The day after the first 2009 rain storm, 10/14/09
Los Cerritos Channel, Long Beach CA...1/2 mile or less from the ocean.

Los Cerritos Channel again, 10/14/09

There are many sources of trash and pollution that harm our waters including balloons, plastic toys, trash thrown from car windows, illegal dumping into rivers, pet waste that is not properly cleaned up, oil or chemical waste from cars which gets washed from the pavement into the storm drains or gets dumped into gutters, and yard water runoff containing fertilizers, lawn/garden clippings and leaves.

Take some time out and stop and really look at a flood control sometime.  Join a beach cleanup and see the amount of trash that washes up on the beach from the ocean...a large amount of it does not come from beach goers but washes to the ocean from storm drains--it is especially bad after a winter storm.  And this is just the stuff you can see...many other toxins from oil on roads to fertilizers from yards also wash out to sea.  For a different method of gardening to prevent toxins from your yard see www.caopenspace.org/myofg.html.

San Gabriel River, Long Beach CA
One mile or less from the ocean, 10/14/09 ... the day after this year's first big rain storm

San Gabriel River, Long Beach CA. Algal bloom is caused by excess nutrients in the water.

Storm drain cover, Long Beach CA (residential stree near the Los Cerritos Channel)

Prevention of leaves, grass and yard clippings from entering storm drains helps prevent algal bloom

Among the trash in this picture, cigarette butts and a tennis ball. 10/14/09

Below is a contact list for several cities.  Check back, I'll be adding more city contact info to the list.  Send the mayors and council members an email and voice your concerns about watershed and ocean pollution, ask what their city is doing about the problem and offer your suggestions and observations.  Thanks!

City contact information

Along the San Gabriel River:

Long Beach City Council page:  http://www.ci.long-beach.ca.us/officials/default.asp

Seal Beach
City Council contact page:  http://www.ci.seal-beach.ca.us/citycouncil/meet.html

City Council Contact page:  http://www.lakewoodcity.org/services/forms/new_form_gen_service_09_29_02.asp

Hawaiian Gardens
Contact page:  http://hgcity.org/contactus.php

City Council Page:  http://www.cityofartesia.us/City%20Council/councilMembers.html

Email Mayor & City Counsel:


Contact page:  http://www.ci.norwalk.ca.us/contact.asp

City Council Contacts:  http://www.downeyca.org/city_cc.php

Santa Fe Springs
City Council Contact page:  http://www.santafesprings.org/services/contact_us.asp

City Council contacts:  http://www.whittierch.org/

Along the Santa Ana River:

Huntington Beach Contact page:  http://www.ci.huntington-beach.ca.us/ContactUs/

Costa Mesa City Council contact page:  http://www.ci.costa-mesa.ca.us/council/councils.htm

Fountain Valley City Council contact page:  http://www.fountainvalley.org/government/citycouncil/citycouncilmembers.html

Orange City Council email addresses:  http://www.cityoforange.org/officials/default.asp

http://www.anaheim.net/ (look for the Mayor/City Council heading on the right, below are links to their email addresses)


This city has a very informative webpage about storm drains and pollution of the ocean and waterways:  http://www.placentia.org/?section=4&type=Normal&id=74&crumbs1=4&crumbs2=109&crumbs3=199

Write them a letter and let them know you are concerned about this issue and thank them for the nice information and their efforts.  Maybe point out to other cities they should put up a page like this too.

Placentia online contact form:  http://www.placentia.org/?section=7&type=Contact&crumbs1=7

Phone or write letters, contact info:


Learn more

Plastic Debris Rivers to Sea Project
A project of Algalita Marine Research Foundation and the California Coastal Commission:

Ocean Friendly Gardens, Surfrider Foundation:

Surfrider Foundation's Clean Water Initiative:

Plastic also affects other ecosystems and wildlife.  See this story on the Orange County Zoo website: 

Interesting, catch basin screen, City of Los Angeles:

News article on Long Beach Post on Pollution in the LA River:

News article on Long Beach Post, Sewer Spill & Debris in LA River after rain:

LAstormwater.org has a few pages of interest...
Timeline of biodegradation of different trash:  http://www.lastormwater.org/Siteorg/education/biodegrd.htm
General info about the storm drain pollution problem:

Info on the San Gabriel River Watershed, LA County Dept. of Public Works:

To find a beach cleanup, go to
www.surfrider.org, click on "chapters" and look for beach cleanups or check their calendar links to find a beach cleanup event near you.

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