Carter Creek Cleanup Site Adopted, Big Dump Action


Volunteers hauling trash up the steep sides of the Carter Creek illegal dumpsite.

Watch out, World! A people powered, trash cleaning revolution is rolling through Southern Humboldt!

The latest: ERCP (Eel River Cleanup Project) adopted Carter Creek, former resting place of thousands of illegally dumped butane cans, as part of the California Coastal Commission’s Adopt-A-Beach program. This Sunday (tomorrow,) volunteers (maybe you’ll be one) will continue to clean out the decades old dump site. Volunteers removed thousands of pounds of trash already and, with Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue (SHTR) team on site again to work the ropes, thousands more will be removed tomorrow.


Shawn Studebaker from Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue manages the ropes on an earlier cleanup at Carter Creek dump.

‘We have a passion not only for the people but the land that we live in and the waterways,” said Diana Totten spokesperson for SHTR about why the elite, highly trained members of the rescue organization are assisting in removing trash. “This makes it a perfect combination for us to work with these people who share those passions.”

“Having the rescue guys on board. It is a huge help,” explained Chris Anderson. He called this Sunday’s cleanup a “big, big push” to remove as much trash as possible from the main site. Ideally, that trash will be sorted by volunteers and recycled if possible. But, he said, there are surrounding areas on the next bend of the road that need cleanup. “There is a pullout around a corner that has garbage that anyone could work in without a harness…If we have enough volunteers, we’ll send teams there,” he said.

Anderson says that there are more trash removal days planned beyond tomorrow’s activity. “This is a big project,” he explained. But, Anderson, who has been involved since the second cleanup is committed. “We’re going to be here until this is done.”

And even then, he says, ERCP has plans to work in the Creek beyond the actual trash removal. “We’ve started looking for people to do restoration work. Restore the land back to the way it was. There are definitely fish in that creek.”


Kai Ostrow of SHTR manhandling a trash container onto a rope pulley system so that it can be dragged out of the Carter Creek dumpsite.

“This Sunday will be first cleaning since ERCP adopted Carter Creek,” pointed out Amy Machado the founder of the group. “Adoption means you guarantee to be there three times a year.” That means the group will be there at least two more times this year.

Machado is enthused about her group’s continuing efforts at the old dump site and in other areas across Southern Humboldt. ERCP recently raised over $16,000 to pay for dump fees and other expenses. (However, donations for tomorrow’s fees will be gratefully accepted.)

One thing that would help is for someone to provide child care during the cleanup, she said. So, if you have questions or would like to volunteer call Amy Machado at (707) 616-0900. Or you can just show up tomorrow at 10 A.M.  just east of the Alderpoint bridge. Bring thick gloves and drinking water. Trucks and trailers to haul off trash are also helpful. [An earlier incorrect version said 11 A.M.]


Red circle marks the spot where volunteer gather tomorrow to clean up Carter Creek.


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