National Rivers Day 2016: San Lorenzo River Cleanup photos by John F. Hunter Photography
National Rivers Day 2016: San Lorenzo River Cleanup photos by John F. Hunter Photography


THE SAN LORENZO RIVER is one of Santa Cruz County’s main veins to the ocean. It feeds big blue with vital nutrients, replenishes coastal sediment, and provides safe haven for wildlife as well as fresh drinking water. The river is a precious resource worth celebrating and protecting, making it the perfect location for our 2016 National Rivers Day festivities.

Every year, Save Our Shores honors the holiday by combining public river awareness with action to keep our local watersheds healthy… which is just a fancy way of saying that we host a morning cleanup stroll along the levee. The rewarding experience is fun and full of trash grabbers and smiles. Check it out:

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National Rivers Day 2016: San Lorenzo River Cleanup photos by John F. Hunter Photography

Santa Cruz local and award winning photographer, John F. Hunter, snapped these photos as he followed Save Our Shores and volunteer cleanup crew down the San Lorenzo River. The piles of soggy trash were a part of hundreds across four main cleanup sites. Over the phone, John told Save Our Shores about his experience:

[quote float=”none”]…It was a bit heart wrenching especially knowing that our bay is full of marine life. It’s up to us to protect their home. I knew it [the trash] was bad, I just never realized the extent of the problem. It just goes to show how important environmental work like this really is…[/quote]

We agree. No one wants pollution reaching our shores and entering our ocean. Nor does anyone want pollution harming our local watershed ecosystem. Not to worry! Thanks to support from the City of Santa Cruz, Save Our Shores has a dedicated crew of community leaders that tend to our rivers, keeping their flow pristine. We call them Adopt-A-Levee groups. Who are these river heroes?

[fivecol_one]Coastal Watershed Council, Save Our Shores Adopt-A-Levee Group[/fivecol_one] [fivecol_one]Patagoinia, Save Our Shores Sponsor[/fivecol_one] [fivecol_one]SCMBAS, Save Our Shores Adopt-A-Levee[/fivecol_one] [fivecol_one]Tannery Arts Center, Save Our Shores Adopt-A-Levee[/fivecol_one] [fivecol_one_last]UCSC Kayak Club, Save Our Shores Adopt-A-Levee[/fivecol_one_last]Their work is tireless, important, and necessary. Together for National Rivers Day, our Adopt-A-Levee crew and 25 plus volunteers swept up more than 400 pounds of trash from flowing to the ocean! Here’s the nitty-gritty breakdown:

  • Coastal Water Shed Council:
    • Haul: 12.5lbs of trash and 3lbs of recycling
    • Weirdest item: a bunch of bike parts
  • Patagonia Outlet, Santa Cruz:
    • Haul: 81lbs of trash and 9lbs of recycling
    • Weirdest item: Large muddy suitcase of broken video games
  • Save Our Shores and Sanctuary Stewards:
    • Haul: 215lbs of trash and 16lbs of recycling
    • Weirdest item: a roach-clip welded to a bullet casing
  • UCSC Kayak Club:
    • Haul: Still punching official weights
    • Weirdest item: TBA


National Rivers Day 2016

As a token of our appreciation and thanks to the City of Santa Cruz, volunteers received free reusable produce bags! The bags help shoppers to reduce single-use waste, the most common type of trash we find along our river levee cleanups. Want your own reusable produce bags? Visit our online calendar HERE. We giveaway the bags at our farmers market events and river cleanups… It’s easy. All you have to do is volunteer and take the pledge to reduce waste!



Join our monthly calendar email for volunteer opportunities [hr] [box]Save Our Shores would like to thank all of our partners and sponsors that celebrated National Rivers Day with us. This cleanup effort is funded by the City of Santa Cruz Clean River, Ocean and Beaches Fund.[/box]