By Deb Kramer
On March 25th 2017, over 200 volunteers from San Jose and surrounding areas came together to celebrate World Water Day at the Viet Heritage Garden. World Water Day, held annually on March 22, tackles the global water crisis by providing sustainable and clean water to eradicate extreme poverty.
People from over 30 different organizations participated to clean a section of Coyote Creek that had been off-limits for many years. This location, below the Viet Heritage Garden, is an area off Coyote Creek opposite Kelly Park.
An amazing staff of volunteers from the City’s Parks and Recreation department contributed with the Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful creek action team to organize the event, check people in and keep people safe as team leaders. Each team leader led about 25 people down to a section of the creek and collectively removed over one-third ton of litter from a section approximately three-quarters of a mile in length.
People shared comments such as, “Wow this area is so beautiful,” and “Candy wrappers were the majority of the trash I collected.” People were amazed by how high the water levels had been during the flood and the incredibly high location of the trash in the trees. We found large branches 10-20 feet high in the trees and were able to remove some of them to create a habitat along the sides of the banks.
We even had one group that found a highly mottled arboreal salamander, which for moment we thought was a threatened California tiger salamander. Alas, he was still cool since he was so unusual.
Despite the rain the night before, we were grateful for the number of people who came out and helped clean Coyote Creek. The creek had flooded the previous month, and we were still riding on the goodwill of people to come out. We ask volunteers to continue to come to the cleanup events since they have become more aware of the beauty of the creek. We are proud that we can share how valuable having a healthy watershed is to all the community.