A River Runs Through It: The Santa Clarita Valley
By: Laurene Weste, City Councilmember
"No one has the right to use America's rivers and America's waterways that belong to all the people, as a sewer. The banks of a river may belong to one man or one industry or one state, but the waters which flow between the banks should belong to all the people."
President Lyndon B. Johnson said upon signing the Clean Water Act of 1965.
Here in the Santa Clarita Valley, we are fortunate to have a portion of the last remaining natural river in Southern California.
That’s why it’s so important for community members to help preserve the river's natural beauty and variety of wildlife by cleaning up a portion of the Santa Clara River.
Since 1994, the City’s annual River Rally Clean Up, has attracted thousands of Santa Clarita residents and volunteers who have collected over 245,000 pounds of trash and debris from the Santa Clarita River and its tributaries.
On Saturday, September 15, 2007, the 13th River Rally and Environmental Expo kicks off at the future park site on Canyon View Drive, off of Camp Plenty Road in Canyon Country, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
The City’s River Rally is a rewarding volunteer experience and popular destination for clubs, organizations, students, scout troops and families. Pre-registration is not needed to attend River Rally and volunteers of all ages are welcome.
The City provides each volunteer with a pair of gloves, light refreshments, and a special commemorative gift. In addition to the river clean-up, volunteers will be given information on environmental issues including air quality, recycling, waste reduction, water conservation, wildlife preservation, and much more at the Environmental Expo.
The Expo will feature more than 25 exhibitors and sponsors including various City Departments, Air Quality Management District, Castaic Lake Water Agency, Newhall Water, Valencia Water, Blue Barrel/Waste Management, Burrtec, Clean Street, Sierra Club, Placerita Nature Center, Energy Coalition, California Wild Heritage Campaign, L.A. County Sanitation Districts, Westfield, Environmental Defenders, Santa Clarita Valley Environmental Coalition and many more.
There will also be arts and crafts, giveaways, games, bucket truck rides and a special appearance by “C.O.R.E.Y” the City’s Environmental Services mascot.
River Rally, which is held as a part of National Pollution Roundtable Week and the California Coastal Cleanup Day, is funded in part through a U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Trustee Council Grant.
The National Pollution Prevention Roundtable is a not for profit organization with the largest membership of people dedicated solely to pollution prevention and host National Pollution Prevention Week.
On September 17th through the 23rd, businesses, individuals, and environmental groups are encouraged to collaborate and share information about pollution prevention as part of the National Pollution Prevention Week.
Thanks to the efforts of thousands of volunteers, the City’s River Rally event was awarded the prestigious “Water Quality Stewardship Award” for excellence in improving and maintaining water quality by the State of California.
The Santa Clara River’s 100 miles of water, runs through the heart of Santa Clarita, from Acton to the Pacific Ocean. According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works, the Santa Clara River is the largest river system in southern California that remains in a relatively natural state.
The river is home to several rare species, including the unarmored three spine stickleback and tidewater goby, both small fish. The estuary is also home to the western snowy plover and the least tern, both small birds. All federally listed as endangered.
In total, 14 bird species and six plant species residing in or near the river are listed as endangered or of special concern. It is important to preserve the quality and well-being of the Santa Clara River to ensure a long and continued life of theses endangered animals.
Everyone is invited to attend the City’s 13th Annual River Rally event and participate in a rewarding experience that will help conserve one of Santa Clarita’s most pristine natural habitats.
Participating volunteers should wear sturdy closed-toe shoes, appropriate clothing for walking in the riverbed and plenty of sunscreen. Animals are not permitted on site during River Rally.
For more information on River Rally or matters of environmental concern, please contact the City’s Environmental Services Division at (661) 286-4098, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.