Union Democrat staff

Elissa Wall and her husband Mark have been especially aware of fishing line and hooks left behind by fishermen since they helped rescue a Canada goose and later an eagle this summer.

Both birds had been snared by fishing trash. The Union Democrat featured a story about these rescues and another when the eagle, incapacitated and near death from a hook lodged in its esophagus, was healed and set free.

Last weekend, the Walls along with 12 other volunteers and rangers were back at New Melones, where the birds were found.

In four and a half hours, the group collected enough fishing line, hooks and lures to fill a five gallon bucket.

In all 1,100 pounds of trash was pulled from the lakeshore, including the usual bottles and cans, but also tires, car seat cushions, a fiberglass bumper, metal car parts and a chair from 9 a.m. to noon.

Elissa Wall said she, her husband, ranger Pat Sanders and her husband Harold stayed an extra hour and a half and boated to the spillway to get another bag of trash, a blanket and several wooden ramps.

“It's astounding how much stuff is out there,” she said.

She said they found bottles and cans on the ground near garbage cans and stuff so heavy they couldn't pick it up.

“There was not enough time to collect everything,” she said.

The cleanup sponsored by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which owns New Melones, was part of the Great Sierra River Cleanup, which celebrated its 10 th cleanup this year with 49 cleanup sites. In all, 1,042 volunteers collected 8.9 tons of trash.

Elissa Wall said she and her husband are saving the fishing trash to see how much they will ultimately collect.

“We already have two 11" X 17" bags full of fishing garbage collected,” she said in an email.

While in Valley Springs earlier this week for truck repairs, they went to New Hogan Reservoir and collected a bag full of line, hooks and lures.

“It's sad to see how much garbage is out there,” she said.