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Marsha McLean: Time for 18th annual River Rally Cleanup

Posted: September 15, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 15, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Running through the heart of our city is one of the last natural enduring river systems in Southern California, the Santa Clara River. Our river is a vital community resource featuring 57 archeological sites and 12 historic landmarks, which provides a habitat for 14 species of birds and six species of plants listed as endangered or of special concern.

As President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “I see an America whose rivers and valleys and lakes, hills and streams and plains; the mountains over our land and nature’s wealth deep under the earth, are protected as the rightful heritage of all the people.”

In addition to providing sanctuary for wildlife and history, the Santa Clara River also provides and protects a portion of our community’s water supply.

For these reasons and more, thousands in our community volunteer their time each year to preserve the Santa Clara River’s natural beauty and wildlife.

This year, the city of Santa Clarita, along with community partners and volunteers, will host the 18th annual city of Santa Clarita River Rally Cleanup and Environmental Expo on Sept. 22, from 8-11 a.m., providing an opportunity for residents to get involved in preserving our river.

The river cleanup event will involve removing trash from the Santa Clara River at 18386 Soledad Canyon Road between Whites Canyon Road and Highway 14.

New to this year’s cleanup event is the need for organizations and community volunteers to register in advance. If you are planning to join us, please be sure to register by Sept. 18 at

Since 1994, the city has hosted the annual River Rally Cleanup, attracting thousands of Santa Clarita community members who volunteer their time to clean the river. As a result of this event and community support, more than 360,000 pounds of trash and debris have been removed from the Santa Clara River and its tributaries.

Not only is the River Rally Cleanup an excellent volunteer opportunity for clubs, organizations, students, scout troops and entire families, it also aids the community in preserving the natural beauty and wildlife of the Santa Clara River. Volunteers of all ages are welcome and service hours will be signed for those volunteers with the appropriate forms.

River Rally Cleanup is a fun project, but things do get messy. Participating volunteers must wear sturdy, closed-toe shoes, appropriate clothing for walking in the riverbed and plenty of sunscreen.

Gloves, collection bags and refreshments will be provided to participants, and the first 1,200 volunteers will receive a commemorative giveaway. Pets are not permitted on site during the River Rally Cleanup.

In addition to the river cleanup, an Environmental Expo will be held showcasing ways to preserve the environment. Featuring more than 20 exhibitors and sponsors, the expo will include details about recycling, air quality, pollution prevention, water quality, open space preservation and wildlife conservation programs in Santa Clarita.

It is important for our community to join together to help preserve the well-being of the Santa Clara River to ensure protection for endangered species and a high quality of life for current and future generations. Everyone is encouraged to come out and clean a portion of the Santa Clara River and help protect the natural resources and beauty of our community.

For more information on River Rally or to complete the required pre-registration, call the River Rally hotline at 661-284-1415 or visit

Marsha McLean is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at


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