Fake $100 bills. Sex toys. A mannequin head. A vintage Pepsi can, 1976 bicentennial edition. Vacuum cleaners.
This isn’t some random haul from a local flea market. These are some of the objects unearthed by River City Waterway Alliance volunteers from rivers, creeks and riparian habitats around the Sacramento region. Since the group officially formed in January 2023, it has held 136 cleanup events in six months, removing more than 530,000 pounds of trash and debris.
Big screen TVs. A punching bag. An automotive magazine from 1912. A bunch of batteries. Carpets and clothing. Countless shopping carts. Needles.
RCWA has about 40 regular volunteers, who have completed more than 4,200 volunteer hours to date. They do four to five cleanups every single week. Even on the Fourth of July, they tackled an abandoned encampment across from Sutter’s Landing Park, pulling out more than 3 tons of trash. The days are long, the work grueling. They don’t have power equipment at their disposal. They use shovels and cultivators (four-pronged rakes), hay hooks (for pulling out textiles and mattresses) and hand winches for things deeply buried.