Tuolumne County residents joined volunteers across the Sierra Nevada to collect about 90,000 pounds of trash on Saturday as part of an annual cleanup effort, according to the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.
The fourth annual Great Sierra River Cleanup attracted about 2,800 volunteers, who searched beaches and riverbanks at some 100 sites for paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, plastic bags, glass bottles, cigarette butts and other trashy items.
The Tuolumne County Resource Conservation District, which has participated all four years of the effort, held this year’s event at the Natural Bridges Trail near New Melones Reservoir, where volunteers helped clean up garbage and install a bridge.
Since the event began in 2009, volunteers have removed 571 tons of garbage from watersheds throughout the Sierra Nevada, according to the release.
“About two-thirds of Californians get their water from the Sierra, so it is noteworthy that so many volunteers take part in cleaning up our rivers, lakes and streams,” Sierra Nevada Conservancy executive officer Jim Brandham said in a press release.
Combined with the yearly California Coastal Cleanup, it is the largest annual one-day volunteer event in California, according to the conservancy.
This year marked the 28th annual California Coastal Cleanup. Tens of thousands of volunteers collected trash at beaches and inland waterways at more than 850 sites in 55 of California’s 58 counties, according to the California Coastal Commission.
With 70 percent of the sites reporting numbers, the event attracted 57,442 volunteers and resulted in the removal of 320 tons of trash and recyclables.