Waterkeeper partnered with Inland Empire Utilities Agency from July 2009 through April 2011 to locate, remove and inventory debris within three miles of targeted areas on Chino and Mill Creeks in the Prado Basin. Plagued with illegal dumping in many areas, Chino and Mill Creeks suffer from severe trash pollution. Waterkeeper staff and over 200 volunteers actively worked toward improving water quality by removing almost 15 TONS of trash from these two creeks for the benefit of wildlife, the public, and downstream water consumers. The Project objectives for Waterkeeper were:
To survey the targeted areas of Chino and Mill Creeks for information on access points, terrain, dumping locations, creek conditions, and other notable items relevant to conducting future debris removal
To remove debris in the targeted areas of Chino and Mill Creeks by utilizing local volunteer groups
To inventory removed debris in order to provide information to target future source control strategies
Over the length of the grant period, Waterkeeper increased knowledge on the surrounding area due to surveying and data collection, on-the-ground clean-up restoration work, and inventory of the removed debris. Furthermore, community involvement and outreach were substantially increased; contributing to new partnerships and the strengthening of old relationships. In addition, with the aid of Project funding Waterkeeper was able to provide employment opportunities to nine local residents over the course of the Project. Great success and complex challenges were both a part of the Project for Waterkeeper as each objective was accomplished. The final outcomes were immediate visible improvements and long-term water quality progress within Chino and Mill Creeks.
This area has seen a direct correlation between the rate of urbanization and the volume of debris in waterways. Trash collects in low-hanging trees and brush with heavy items lying on the channel bed. The extent of impact on water quality is presently unknown, although trash has been known to harbor bacteria and cause other water quality problems. Some items we pulled out included: tires, mattress, shopping carts, furniture, and TONS of PLASTIC!! Waterkeeper staff is currently searching for funds to implement a public policy phase which will raise awareness about the chronic trash issue within the City of Chino and surrounding cities in the watershed. We will work toward implementation of upstream prevention measures; thus addressing the root of the problem and contributing to a long-term solution to keep trash and pollutants out of these critical waterways.
Waterkeeper's debris removal project was one facet of a larger coordinated effort to improve the entire Prado Basin. Upon completing our original project, Inland Empire Utilities Agency contracted with Waterkeeper again to conduct photomonitoring services at 20 sites along Chino and Mill Creeks. As part of the ongoing efforts to both monitor and prevent illegal dumping at these creeks, Waterkeeper's photo-monitoring and reporting will provide visual evidence of the impacts to the waterways. Monitoring efforts took place October 2011 through June 2012.
Thank you to all who participated or otherwise suppported the effort!
Check out the Chino and Mill Creek Debris Removal Project's Final Report here!
This work is generously funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the California Clean Water State Revolving Fund. Additional support comes from the Walmart Foundation and Union Bank Foundation.