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Watson Park Coyote Creek Cleanup Heroics

By Deb Kramer

On a bright and cool morning in March, over 140 volunteers gathered at Watson Park to participate in a Coyote Creek cleanup. Represented among the volunteers were several groups including the San Jose State University Environmental Resource Center, Yerba Buena High School Green Club, and Piedmont Hills High School.

Over the course of the three-hour cleanup, we removed three tons of trash, including 155 large garbage bags filled to the brim. If you’ve ever participated in a creek cleanup, you know some unusual items end up in the creek. Well, this time was no different. Volunteers found items including a seat cushion, stroller, Magic Bullet blender, skis, and a fire extinguisher.

The most unusual items, however, were two sets of chain. Now, these were not your ordinary chains. Per one of our Team Leaders, Chuck Hagenmeier, the chain is called a “leg chain sling”. A readable metal tag indicated that it was rated for 22,500 lbs and was dated from 2015. The individual links were at least 1/2″ in diameter, and at somewhere between $400 to $700 for each chain, they’re pretty darn expensive.

The more perplexing question is “How on earth did something that new and of that weight and value end up in the creek?” They weighed around 70 pounds each, and in their rusted condition, unfortunately couldn’t be salvaged or reused.

Additional highlights from the event included the following:

First, under the direction of Team Leaders Nicolle Burnham and Bruce Victorine, their team removed several hundred pounds of trash from a former homeless encampment in about 20 minutes. Poof … back to its natural state!

Next, a large plastic box with a cable attached had been used by homeless people to move goods, and themselves, from one side of the creek to the other. Our hardy volunteers removed the box and cut the cable so that this large item that was blocking the flow of water was no longer in the creek.

We had fun, helped restore a natural a natural resource, and made new connections in the community. Thank you to all who participated!



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