The story behind Inland Empire Waterkeeper's decision to partner with Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water and what it means for local waterways
California’s waterways hold a special place in my heart. Throughout my career I have chosen positions that would allow me to give back to my community and improve the lives of the people who live there. As the Inland Empire Waterkeeper I found an opportunity to do that by dedicating my work to preserving our waterways. The trash accumulating in our state’s waterways has been particularly troubling for me because the very health and well being of every person in California is intimately connected to clean water. As southern Californians we rely on water to cool us off, hydrate us, and to provide a home for the vast array of plants and animals that make our region the paradise that beckons so many. Many Californians will tell you that the water is what drew them here and it speaks to them on a deep level. I am no different. A lifelong resident of the Inland Empire , I played in these waterways as a child, met my husband there as a young adult, and bring my children back to these waters as a mother.
For this reason, I was thrilled when the Inland Empire Waterkeeper (IEWK) was able to partner with Nestlé Waters North America’s Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water brand allowing us to host a series of local clean-up events over the year. As grateful as we are for the grant that made these clean-ups possible, I am also equally grateful for the can-do spirit, camaraderie and tangible results that we achieved together.
When we started our days, we were often staring at stagnant, murky creeks that stunk of the debris that had settled at the bottom and the bacteria that it fostered in the water.There were little to no water birds or fish to be seen. At each of the six events throughout the year the team of volunteers spent hours dragging out plastics, Styrofoam and unexpected items such as shopping carts, constructions materials, clothing and even 15 foot long rolls of carpet. By day’s end and with mud up to their chests, the final result of the volunteer’s hard work was clear waterways that were once again welcoming to fish and birds.
In fact, once the trash was removed, the Mill Creek in Chino regained 40% of its flow, and wildlife began to return to the area almost immediately. And upon returning the day after the clean up there were hundreds of water birds peppering the channel. Similar outcomes were seen time and time again at each event.
These results are promising for me because it shows what can be accomplished in ways of water quality improvement, plant and animal habitat restoration, and opportunities for families to enjoy these natural treasures, by a few hours of hard work from dedicated members of our community like the employees at Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water.
While we are excited for what has been accomplished, we know there is still much work to be done. Through more public education and generosity from partners such as Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water, I know we can keep California’s waterways in the pristine condition they deserve.