Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Creek to Bay Day

Saturday was the 16th annual Oakland Creek to Bay Day to cleanup waterways and shoreline in Oakland. It was part of the International Coastal Cleanup effort around the world.

There were projects all over Oakland, including several not far from home. But I selected a project somewhere I'd never been in Oakland, W.D. Wood Park near Reservoir Hill, between Fruitvale and I-580 (not far from the Altenheim.) Sausal Creek runs along the east side of the park, but as is the case for too many creeks in Oakland, it runs underground in a culvert. The park itself was created when leakage from the nearby reservoir contributed to unstable soil, and an entire neighborhood sank in the 1950s. The Corps of Engineers stabilized the hillside with piles driven deep into the ground, but it was too late for dozens of houses. Unable to safely rebuild, the area was turned into a park in 1976.

A couple of dozen volunteers turned out to help clean up the park. I don't know how many trips Phil made back up the hill with his pickup filled to overflowing, but we filled the dumpster more than half way with 3 hours of work. It would have been completely full, but I enlisted the aid of some of our younger volunteers to help me flatten down and redistribute the load. Besides removing broom and other invasive species, and picking up some trash, we also planted a few native plants in areas that had already been cleared.

In our local brush with fame, KRON Channel 4 showed up to get some footage and interviewed Lisa, one of the coordinators of the cleanup. And city council member, Ignacio De La Fuente showed up to work, too. While he and his staffer showed up late, I think it was because he'd been to another cleanup site in his district earlier. And to his credit, he was working hard when I saw him down the hill. IDLF has worked to get funds for the park to get a play area and other improvements.

Although it was a fairly short day, we got a lot done. Thanks to Lisa and Jill who organized the cleanup, and all the volunteers who worked hard. But cleaning up Wood Park isn't a once-a-year thing; a group of neighbors is out there every 3rd Saturday to work. And very likely there's a neighborhood group that does similar things at a park near you. So get out there and make Oakland better!

More photos:
Creek to Bay Day

More coverage:
Oakland North

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