Preliminary CCD Results are in!

The dynamic duo, Lexi & Moriah!

Today’s blog comes from our Community Program Coordinator and co-Coastal Cleanup Day mastermind, Moriah Saldaña!  Over the last few month, Moriah has worked closely with our Community Program Manager, Lexi Ambrogi, to ensure that our second countywide cleanup of the year was a success. Read on to learn more about preliminary totals and view snapshots from around the county!

Vol in Action - Moonlight
Counting all those cigarette butts and bottle caps, although tedious, makes a huge impact worldwide!

The results are still coming in from Coastal Cleanup Day,
but one thing is for sure, Coastal Cleanup Day was an enormous hit! Whether our volunteers were at the beach picking up litter, removing graffiti in their local neighborhoods, or removing invasive plants from canyons, we know that San Diegans are now able to enjoy more than 100 clean outdoor spaces free of litter!

Coastal Cleanup Day in San Diego is part of a statewide and international cleanup effort to restore coastlines across the globe. The effort is coordinated statewide by the California Coastal Commission and internationally by The Ocean Conservancy. While international totals for 2015 are not available yet, in 2014, 560,000 volunteers in 91 countries picked up more than 16 million pounds of trash!

Volunteers at Sweetwater Marsh working together to do some heavy lifting.

Our staff woke up extra early on Saturday morning to lead more than 200 volunteers in beautification projects at Emerald Hills Park in Encanto.  While the focus of the morning was on various planting and mulching projects, volunteers cleared out over 2,700 pounds of debris!

emerald hills park - Ani
Hotline Assistant, Ani spreading mulch with a smile!

As for the county as a whole, preliminary totals for Coastal Cleanup Day – San Diego indicate that we had over 7,500 volunteers cleaning up 105 local creeks, canyons, beaches and bays as part of this event!  While the trash totals are still being compiled, we are expecting that more than 150,000 pounds of trash were removed from our county. On top of this, volunteers also beautified and restored the local environment through removing graffiti, removing invasive plants, building raised garden beds, and performing a variety of park maintenance projects.

Team Silvergate recovering items from water
Volunteers at Sun Harbor Marina didn’t stop at the sand.

Every year at this event, and at our other countywide cleanup, Creek to Bay in April, we see that cigarette butts and small plastic items are our most commonly found items.  While unfortunately this isn’t that surprising, we are often stunned by some of the more unique pieces of litter that our volunteers find.  Some of my favorites this year include a set of dentures in good shape, a full fish tank, a dragon statue and a MacBook computer.

Dentures found at Beacon’s Beach definitely made the top of the odds items list!

See more pictures from Coastal Cleanup Day and our other cleanups on Facebook and Instagram!

Looking to join us at our next event? We have a quite a few volunteer opportunities coming up. Click here for more information on how to get involved!

CCD Volunteers to Expand Community Garden

Sarah_team15Today’s blog comes from our Development and Marketing Coordinator, Sarah! Each April and September, she looks forward to the opportunity to shed light on the diversity of our countywide cleanup sites and the dedicated site captains that lead them. Read on to learn more about how one of our Coastal Cleanup Day sites, the Tijuana River Valley Community Garden, is going above and beyond the typical cleanup to benefit their local community.

TRV June 2015
One view of the Tijuana River Valley Community Garden, the largest community garden in the county!

Get to know the Tijuana River Valley Community Garden
Ann Baldridge, Coastal Cleanup Day site captain and Education Coordinator for the Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County, oversees the largest community garden in the County, the Tijuana River Valley Community Garden. The garden has 136 gardening plots that reflect the local community. Community members of all ages, young families to retirees, come to the garden to plant everything from your standard lettuce and tomatoes to culturally significant foods that represent the diversity of the surrounding communities. The plots have become so popular that there are currently 150 individuals and families on a wait list to receive a plot.

Ann shared that one of the most unique aspects of the garden is that it is a hidden gem within a regional park. Visitors of the regional park often mention that they had no idea this garden existed. Click here to learn more about the garden and how you, too, can find this local garden.

Garden and alley
The regional park trails run along the outskirts of the community garden which lead park visitors to stumble upon this local garden.

So, why does a community garden have its own cleanup site?
While the garden itself is beautiful, other parts of the river valley are significantly affected by illegal dumping and littering. As you can imagine, trash negatively impacts the local environment and the garden that feeds the local community. Before joining I Love A Clean San Diego for their first Coastal Cleanup Day in 2013, the RCD, Park staff, and plot holders at the community garden were already coordinating regular cleanups along the Tijuana River. When the team heard about Coastal Cleanup Day, they were inspired by the international movement and they knew that wanted to be a part of something bigger.

Trash in TJ River
Trash found in the Tijuana River – one of San Diego County’s many waterways that leads to the Pacific Ocean.

After years of leading these cleanups, Ann and her volunteers have found everything from construction debris and furniture to cigarette butts and abandoned shoes. When it rains, all that trash gets flushed through waterways straight to the ocean, resulting in unsafe conditions and frequent beach closures. When we remove the trash beforehand at cleanup sites like the Tijuana River, thousands of pounds of pollutants are kept from contaminating our beloved coastline and Pacific Ocean.

Tijuana River, US Border, Looking toward Tijuana, United States-Mexico Border, San Diego, California
Another view of the Tijuana River that shows how debris travels from inland sources straight to the Pacific Ocean.

Trash removal is a large part of this annual event, however, it will not be the only focus at this site. Thanks to SDG&E employee volunteers, the community garden will have extra volunteer power this year to help expand the capacity of the garden. SDG&E volunteers will work alongside local residents to mulch trails, construct new compost bins, plant a new pollinator garden as well as build two new garden plots for local residents to grow their own nutritious food. Talk about sustainability!

Hundreds of SDG&E employees and their families will participate in service projects to beautify San Diego County on Sept. 19th!

If you’ve never visited the garden, Ann encourages you to come out for Coastal Cleanup Day on this Saturday, September 19th – “You’re guaranteed to have a great day and connect with wonderful people!”

Youth volunteers
Tijuana River Valley Community Garden volunteers with buckets and grabbers in hand ready to cleanup their community!

Whether you join Ann at the community garden site in the Tijuana River Valley or another site that is meaningful to you, we hope you’ll join us for the largest cleanup of the year. Check out a complete list of cleanup sites at to find one near you. 

Can’t make it to Coastal Cleanup Day? Join us for one of our upcoming cleanups!

If you love San Diego, help us keep it beautiful.