“A River Runs Through It”

by Lorraine on September 20, 2009

Well, not exactly a “river”, more like a stream and we’re not talking about something you’d find in the wilderness.   It’s the Arroyo Simi, which in the 21st. century is no longer a stream in the sense of water that is free flowing and harbors native vegetation along its banks providing cover and food for wildlife and birds.

No, the Arroyo Simi is only a memory of an earlier and possibly wilder time.   It’s sides are now concrete and it wends it’s way through the cities of Simi Valley and Moorpark where I think it connects with the Conejo Creek.    An urban stream tends to be a dumping ground for waste and trash and yesterday I spent three hours as a volunteer, cleaning a section of it in recognition of Coastal Cleanup Day.

Once a year this event takes place  and people volunteer across the country to pick up trash and other crap (Excuse my expression but it’s how I feel) along  shorelines and inland water ways throughout the country.   It should be interesting to see what the figures are for this year’s cleanup but where I was working, we found 32 shopping carts that had been dumped along with the usual plastic water bottles and bags, food wrappers and lots of broken glass.  And I even found a machete!

What I did find surprising was the amount of life along the stream.   I was thinking about how filthy the water was but in some areas  there were pools and small fish swimming about in them.   There were also a number of White Egrets, Mallard ducks, frogs and a big surprise.   Crawfish!

Cattails were flourishing but so were many plants that aren’t native and there was an abundance of alge, too, making it quite slippery to navigate along the edge of the water.  In spite of the fact that the stream is lined in concrete and there is nothing but runoff from the streets providing water to it that you know is loaded with grease, oil, pesticides and fertilizers , there actually is a habitat that somehow is supporting life.

As the stream meanders between Simi Valley and Moorpark it passes by the waste treatment plant that discharges treated  waste water into it and this section of the stream is quite thick with vegetation and not encased in concrete.  Although I know that it’s okay to discharge the treated water, it still bothers me to think about going into the ocean but that is where it eventually ends up.

Every time I picked up another plastic bag or bottle or some other sort of trash, I thought about how my simple action was protecting wildlife on the land and in the ocean.   Just one little piece of plastic could kill a bird, fish or have devastating effects on a marine mammal.  Especially when they are bombarded with it every single day.  The health of the worlds oceans are imperilled by trash, especially plastic but it seems to me, that many people don’t care.

(There is a huge amount of plastic swirling out in the Pacific ocean that is thousands of miles wide and no one knows how to clean this mess up.   And Midway Island has tons and tons of plastic that has floated up out of the Pacific onto it’s shores  the last fifty years, which is causing great harm to the Albatross nesting areas on the island.  The chicks eat the plastic).

You can look this up on the Internet….

My wish would be that people would start to develop a moral consciousness about how their acts impact the environment and just make an effort to pick up after themselves and show a good example of environmental ethics to their children in the process.

“Imagine” as John Lennon said………….

Protecting our environment, protects ourselves as well.   Harm done to it, is harm to ourselves and our future and those of our children.  And we are in the position everyday to make wise choices about how to treat our planet and the lovely and endangered ecosystems within it.

As simple as choosing a canvas bag over a plastic one or no longer buying bottled water which is not any better than what comes out of the faucet.  Doing this can have a very postive impact on the trash problem and you get to feel good in the process, too.

“Just Do It”.

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