25th Annual Upper Sacramento River Clean-Up on September 16th

By Tristan Behm, Vice-President of the River Exchange Board. 

Welcome to the 25th Annual Upper Sacramento River Clean-Up

That’s right, for 25 years volunteers from all over the state have come to help clean the Upper Sacramento River.  25 Years!  That is truly amazing and from the bottom of the River Exchange’s heart, we thank all the volunteers over the years for coming out to make our world a better place.  But, the work doesn’t stop and neither do the people who trash the river.  So, on September 16th the 25th Annual Upper Sacramento River Clean-Up will be happening.  

Volunteer Registration will start at 9:00am at the parking lot next to the Dunsmuir baseball field, near the Dunsmuir Parks and Recreation office at 4841 Dunsmuir Ave. in North Dunsmuir. Children should be accompanied by a supervising adult. Volunteers will be given location assignments and maps, trash bags, and gloves. At 1:00, participants will regroup at Dunsmuir City Park for free pizza, awards, and fun activities. 

Then join us that evening at POPs. It will start at 5:00 p.m. with social hour (craft beer/wine) until dinner at 6:00 p.m.  It will be a showcase of Southern cooking, featuring jambalaya, corn bread, yummy sides, and special Cajun dessert. Dinner tickets will be $15 each, and expected to go fast. Available at Dunsmuir Brewery Works, Gary's Pizza, Ted Fay Fly Shop, Dunsmuir Hardware, and Chamber Office. 

Live music will begin at 7:30. The authentic Siskiyou sounds coming from Whiskey Gulch. Sponsors and champion volunteers will be recognized. Prizes will be awarded in various trashy categories (i.e. biggest ball of monofilament fishing line) and for finders of the "Golden Rocks" hidden in the clean-up zones.

The evening celebration is for all who help keep our river clean throughout the whole year.  We would love to hear your story if you are a person who spends your afternoon by the river picking up trash.  We want to celebrate the clean up that happens year-round.  It's not just one day that this happens, it's everyday that the great citizens of Siskiyou County take the time to pick up trash along the river.  Come and enjoy an evening dedicated to you, the true stewards of the river.  See you out on the river on September 16th, and see you out on the dance floor that evening celebrating the place we live, beautiful Siskiyou County.  

 

Citizens of Dunsmuir work to keep the river clean for locals, tourists and wildlife

Guest blog by Lauren Steinheimer

California's greatest river originates right here in Siskiyou County. The headwaters of the Sacramento, the state's largest river, emerge from the Trinity Divide just north of Dunsmuir.

Locals know the Sacramento River is a precious resource for the community, one that draws tourists from around the world for prized fly fishing, floating and stunning photo opportunities. This is why they come together with the help of The River Exchange to protect and care for the river by picking up garbage and educating others on the importance of leaving no trace.

"If we can keep it clean, we can enjoy it for generations," said Dunsmuir City Council Member and former mayor Dave Keisler. He continued to share a story about a group of friends who have been visiting Dunsmuir every year since their grandparents brought them as children. Now, they still come each year, bringing their own grandchildren with them. "They come for the river," Keisler said.

"The River Exchange is one of the greatest things that happened for Dunsmuir," he added. "They're like the guardians of our watershed."

Great River Cleanup

Keisler has been participating in The River Exchange's annual Great River Cleanup for the past several years. In 2016, he and his volunteer crew helped bring in almost 300 out of the total 575 pounds of garbage collected along the river that day.

"Some of the stuff you find out there is just unreal," Keisler said of the trash. He continued to describe the annual contest to see who can bring in the largest wad of balled-up of fishing line. "One year, it was the size of a basketball," he said. "Last year, my group won and it was only about the size of a softball, so it's getting better, but that's still detrimental for fish and wildlife."

The Great River Cleanup takes place with cooperation from Union Pacific Railroad, who grants access to their property along the river for volunteers involved in the cleanup. Retired UP employee and Dunsmuir resident Robert Osborne said he used to be involved in the Great River Cleanup whenever he wasn't working, but since then he's taken it a step further and integrated cleanup practices into his regular routine.

Over the past few years, Osborne started picking up trash along some of the more popular river sites during walks with his dog, Clair. He usually stops to pick up a beer bottle or two around Hedge Creek Falls, Prospect Ave. or Tauhindauli Park.

"There are garbage cans and dog poop stations all over the city and most people are good at using them," Osborne said, "but three or four times it's been really bad. I've found t-shirts, beer cans and bottles, bags of garbage, that kind of stuff. I try to pick up what I can, but can't get all of it. I just really hate looking at other people's trash."

"I think The River Exchange is doing a great job and they're a big plus for our community," Osborne said.

An abandoned campsite near the Sacramento River

An abandoned campsite near the Sacramento River

 

Effect on tourism

World-class fly-fishing is one of Dunsmuir's major tourist attractions. Maintaining a healthy environment for fish and visitors alike is crucial to the town's economy.

That's why Keisler uses his role as a city leader to engage with visitors and educate them on keeping the river clean.

"Not only do we have the best water on Earth, we have the biggest fish in it," Keisler said.

California Fish and Wildlife stock the Sacramento River with trout, but the City of Dunsmuir supplements this with their own Trophy Trout Program every year. The program is aimed at promoting tourism with an annual contest to see who can catch the biggest fish.

"Water is everything in this town," Keisler said, "and Trophy Trout is something we do every year to bring more people to the water. The trash is like a slap in the face to the locals who want to keep it clean.

Osborne agreed, "It doesn't look good for the city and isn't good for the community as a whole. The economy has changed in this region. There's no more mill, the railroad isn't what it used to be... We have to rely on tourism."

Educate the litterbugs

No one knows exactly who is leaving garbage all along the river and this article isn't aimed at pointing fingers, but both Keisler and Osborne spoke of the importance of educating all river visitors on keeping the area clean, a message central to the mission of The River Exchange.

"This area has a high transient population," Keisler said. "I try to introduce myself when I can and I always emphasize respect."

He added that discouraging campfires in the woods surrounding the river is a key factor in maintaining a safe environment, especially after witnessing the Boles Fire devastation in neighboring town of Weed in 2014.

"We're trying really hard to build a safe trail to Mossbrae Falls, and one of the issues of resistance from the Saint Germain Foundation is the garbage left by visitors," Keisler said.

A lot of transients ride into town on railcars, something that Bruce Shoemaker of Black Butte Center for Railroad Culture attempts to counterbalance by rallying a crew of BBCRC volunteers for The Great River Cleanup every year.

"I'm enthused to see that The River Exchange is continuing its long involvement in the stewardship of the river through organizing this event and I'm happy to do my part," Shoemaker said. "We like to get a few volunteers to come down and participate, give back, help us out with this annual event and do our part to keep this amazing river a beautiful, pristine and healthy place."

Rebooted River Exchange at 2017 Brewfest

Dunsmuir-based nonprofit The River Exchange invites Brewfest guests to stop by their
booth on Saturday, Aug. 5 and learn about how to keep our rivers clean through community
action at the 2017 State of Jefferson Brewfest at Dunsmuir City Park.
The River Exchange will be selling t-shirts, buttons, and reusable water bottles in addition
to giving away free information about healthy watershed management.
As organizers of the annual Great River Cleanup, The River Exchange has helped remove
almost 1,500 pounds of trash from the area surrounding the Sacramento River in the
region stretching from Box Canyon to Gibson over the past three years.
In addition to creating an eyesore for river visitors, trash left around the river creates a hazardous environment for the plants and animals that live both in and out of the water.
The Great River Cleanup is happening again this year on Saturday, Sept. 16, and The River
Exchange can use as many hands as possible to help out.
Anyone interested in volunteering with The Great River Cleanup is encouraged to contact
Scott Embrey or visit The River Exchange booth at Brewfest on August 5 to learn about
other opportunities to help maintain the gorgeous stretch of the Sacramento River that
flows through south Siskiyou County.
The River Cleanup is a family-friendly event, which featured activities for kids and is made
possible by a great crew of enthusiastic volunteers and generous donations from local
businesses.
The River Exchange has recently gone through a “reboot” phase since it first started serving
as Siskiyou County's primary organization dedicated to river stewardship, restoration and
education over 20 years ago.
Maintaining a clean and healthy river for residents and tourists alike is central to the
mission of The River Exchange, but they are seeking to expand beyond the annual cleanup
event and integrate more community involvement in protecting our river. Ideas include
watershed biology education and trail development at Mossbrae Falls.
Former River Exchange Board President Phil Detrich speaks of the organization like it was
a mighty river itself, saying, "The organization has been really successful over time, and has
the ability to adapt and change shape to fit the needs of the community. We hope to bring
about a gradual focus on what we can accomplish in the near term. I don't think change is
going to happen rapidly, but I hope it happens steadily."
New and exciting this year is the addition of several fresh board members, including Vice
President Tristan Behm and Treasurer Peter Arth. Long-time Board member Chris
Stromsness will take over as President. Detrich will remain on the Board to continue work
on grant projects.
The River Exchange is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to promoting healthy watersheds
through community involvement in stewardship, restoration and education. To learn more
about The River Exchange, visit www.riverexchange.org or like them on Facebook.

24th ANNUAL RIVER CLEAN-UP

River lovers of all ages are invited to lend a hand at the 24th Annual River Clean-up and Appreciation on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 9 AM to 1:30 PM.  Volunteers will help clear trash from the banks of the Upper Sacramento River and bordering areas.  In 2015, Clean-Up volunteers collected more than 450 pounds of trash.  In addition to being an eye-sore that damages our image with visitors, trash can hurt wild things both in and out of the water.

Volunteers can register from 9 AM to 10 AM on Sept. 24 at the parking lot next to the Dunsmuir baseball field, near the Dunsmuir Parks and Recreation office at 4841 Dunsmuir Ave. in North Dunsmuir. Children should be accompanied by a supervising adult.  Volunteers will be given location assignments and maps, trash bags, and gloves.  At 11:30, participants will regroup at Dunsmuir City Park for free pizza, awards, and fun activities. The event ends at 1:30 PM.  

The River Exchange sponsors this annual event with support from “Businesses That Care,” local businesses that give to support the Clean-Up and the ongoing stewardship and education projects of The River Exchange.  Donations are still being sought for this year’s event.  For more information about the Clean-Up or how to contribute, please contact Michelle Andras at riverexchange50@gmail.com, or call 235-2012.   

The River Exchange is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting healthy watersheds through community involvement in stewardship, restoration, and education. 

Check us out on Facebook.

Rebooting The River Exchange - Meeting #2

7 pm Thursday, August 11, 2016

Firewhat Classroom
5727 Dunsmuir Avenue
Dunsmuir CA

A nucleus of educators, science types, conservationists, and other river enthusiasts has begun discussing “re-booting” The River Exchange.  We are considering new pathways, different business models, retaining what works, and bringing in new, younger leadership, interests, and know-how.   

Fourteen interested people attended our first public “Reboot the River Exchange” meeting on June 21.   Executive Director Phil Detrich described the present status in terms of finances, activities, and participation.  We exchanged a lot of ideas, and various folks are considering different paths and how they might contribute.

Since that meeting, two people from diverse backgrounds have agreed to join our Board of Directors!  They are Michelle Andras and Peter Arth.   Michelle is a Mt. Shasta native, young mother, and experienced environmental educator.  Peter is a retired attorney, former mayor of Dunsmuir, and local benefactor.  What a great start for the Reboot!

Please join us at the FireWhat classroom on August 11, 7:00 pm!

After 22 years, we’re proud of our accomplishments and certain that there is still great value and creative potential in The River Exchange.  Our mission still rings true: “To promote healthy watersheds through community involvement in stewardship, restoration, and education.’

Fly Fishing Legend Frank Moore to speak at the May 16 MountainFilm Festival

The amazing Frank Moore will be speaking at the 2015 MountainFilm Festival presented by The River Exchange at the California Theatre in Dunsmuir on May 16th. He is the subject of a film called "Mending the Line", which will be shown as part of the Mountainfilm on Tour 2015 lineup. 

This is a huge honor for our community to have him in attendance and speaking to the audience. Tickets for this event are a mere $10 (cheap!). You can purchase your tickets in advance at Village Books, the Fifth Season, or at the River Exchange office.

Mark your calendar, you won't want to miss this event, it is going to be a very special evening for the Sacramento Watershed community! For more information go here: http://www.riverexchange.org/

WE HAVE CANCELLED OUR SCHEDULED AFTER PARTY ON THE ROOFTOP OF THE DUNSMUIR HOTEL DUE TO CHILLY AND RAINY WEATHER. WE WILL BE SCHEDULING A FUNDRAISING RECEPTION AND AUCTION SOME TIME THIS SUMMER.

THE FILM FESTIVAL ON MAY 15 and 16 IS STILL ON.  PLEASE STAY CONNECTED WITH US ON FACEBOOK AND THIS WEBSITE FOR THE ANNOUNCEMENT.

TEDXTALKS.TED.COM

Railroad Safety Is a Hot Topic

The topic of crude oil being transported across the US has been in the news a lot lately. On June 12th the Record Searchlight did a feature story about the issue, which included a quote from our Executive Director, Phil Detrich.  The Sacramento Bee published a story on June 16th about these issues, and a report from the State of California's Interagency Rail Safety Work Group was just released about the potential dangers of transporting crude oil via rail; you can check out the report here: http://www.sfgate.com/file/830/830-SCAN6267.PDF

In order to address increasing concerns about train derailments and potential risks to the Upper Sacramento River and the Dunsmuir community, we held a Railroad Safety Public Meeting on June 23rd at the Performing Arts and Cultural Center (POPS) at 5819 Sacramento Avenue, Dunsmuir, CA. This event was one of many railroad safety meetings The River Exchange has hosted since its inception in 1996. 

The public meeting featured presentations from the California Public Utilities Commission on the increasing rail tank car traffic in California, from Union Pacific regarding their efforts to ensure train safety, and from the Siskiyou County Environmental Health Department regarding accident response procedures.  The public asked questions at the meeting after the presentations.

Many thanks to Peg Berry for generously granting the funds to video record this meeting. Video available below.

Links to presentations given at the June 23rd Railroad Safety public meeting:

California Public Utilities Safety and Enforcement Division: Crude Oil, Ethanol Railroad Shipment Review, Safety Activity, Highlights, by Paul King, PhD, Deputy Director Safety and Enforcement Division  
CPUC SED SafetyReport 02.05.14

Union Pacific Railroad, Dunsmuir Community Meeting presentation, by Lisa Stark, Director of Public Affairs UPRR
Union Pacific Rail Safety

California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Office of Spill Prevention and Response, Crude Oil by Rail Increase, by Alexia Retallack, Director of Public Affairs OSPR
OSPR Crude Oil by Rail Increase