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A man bends over to put trash in an orange bucket on the beach with blue hazy skies above.

A Sad (and Hopefully Temporary) Farewell to Our Monthly Beach & River Mouth Cleanup

May 4, 2024

Sadly, after just over a year of monthly Beach and River Mouth Cleanups, Coastal Corridor Alliance is having to pivot resources to the growing needs of the Randall Preserve Resource Management Plan, Coastal Resilience Strategy, and Public Access Plans.

It’s exciting to move into a new phase for the conservation of the Randall Preserve, but it was a hard decision to end the cleanup events, which have come to mean a lot to many of us.

We chose the Newport Beach side of the Santa Ana River Mouth for a few strategic reasons:

  • It is connected by land and water with the Randall Preserve and the rest of the Santa Ana Riverine Estuary, which we call the Coastal Corridor.
  • There are a number of threatened and endangered animal species still trying to rely on the River Mouth habitat and its resources, but they are under threat and pressure from excessive pollution and human encroachments.
  • The River Mouth is the final barrier for all kinds of waste before it reaches open ocean, affecting our local oceanic systems and wildlife. It’s the last line of defense.
  • No other beach cleanups have focused on this area.
A view over the ocean of the Coastal Corridor lands and waters surrounded by other land uses.

A lot of garbage exits the Santa Ana River into the ocean every day. After rains, a huge influx of street litter washes into storm drains and into the Santa Ana Watershed. This watershed drains the areas where about six million people live in San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange Counties. The watershed starts in the San Bernardino Mountains.

An elevational map with the creeks and streams that drain into the Santa Ana River.

Looking Ahead

Conservation in the Santa Ana River tidal influence zone remains our primary focus, and the river mouth will always be an area of great concern for us. It’s arguably the most central feature in the Santa Ana River Coastal Corridor, as it’s the literal channel that connects inland, to the coast and to the ocean. Working to increase the ecological functionality of the river mouth is of highest importance, not just for the many species that survive on the resources of the mouth of the river, but for the habitats and species in inland regions, and for those far out to sea.

We hope to return to our monthly cleanups when resources and staffing are available for us to do so.

Until then, there are a few things you can do:

  • Whenever you’re at the beach pick up some of the smaller pieces of trash and toss it in the bin.
  • Consider doing your own focused beach & river mouth cleanup with your friends or family, periodically. We recommend our cleanup site, pictured above, at Tower 74 on the Newport Beach side of the Santa Ana River Mouth. The beach break locally called the River Jetties.
  • Join other local organizations’ cleanups. There are a number of other environmental organizations working in and around the Coastal Corridor. Surfrider has recently started a monthly cleanup just on the other side of the river mouth from where our site is, on the 4th Saturday. OC Coastkeeper also does area cleanups. Coastkeeper has invested heavily in the conservation efforts at the river mouth and the endangered shorebirds that live there.
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