As the skies threatened rain, 18 volunteers bundled warm against the fall chill, worked their way slowly down Paulsen Road with grabbers and garbage bags in hand. This county road which transitions from Whiting Road into Paulsen bisects colorful vineyards, ornamental greenhouses, farm land, and housing.
Casserly Creek runs across Paulsen Road. It is a 6.2-mile stream, flowing from Santa Clara county through Watsonville. Casserly Creek is part of the Corralitos Creek Watershed, which is the largest watershed under the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency. Casserly Creek is a part of the Region 3 Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. At an elevation of 18 meters this stream is named for Eugene Casserly who historically owned land in the area. In harsh weather conditions, this creek is prone to flooding. It is another fragile habitat, where fish including largemouth bass fry and even the possibility of steelhead trout take shelter.
Beneath the tangle of burgundy blackberry leaves, torch bright poison oak, and clusters of ruby wild rose hips, the glint of glass could be seen. Numerous illegally discarded liquor and beer bottles, along with slurpy cups, straws, foil wrappers, food containers, cigarette butts, plastic and undetermined trash marred the scene. Tiny birds could be seen flitting between branches camouflaging dumped dirty diapers, bags of old clothes, and food waste. Volunteers picked up several bar-b-ques, broken furniture, box springs, mattresses, and 11 tires.
There were numerous sharps— knives, straight edged blades, scissors, and razors. Two large bags contained the entrails and skins of butchered goats writhing with maggots. “This is what is happening to our community. And it need to stop!” sighed one volunteer.
Kudos and appreciation goes out to members of Watsonville Works, Santa Cruz County Public Works, Council district 4 and the American Legion.
In addition, a grassroots citizen activist group who are now a part of the overall Trash Talkers effort were there to clean up Paulsen Road. Mostly retired women, these citizens are tired of the trash! They are Wetlands Watch Volunteers, Birders, and individuals who care about the health of the environment and our community. A deep bow of gratitude to them for their stalwart participation in this and many other cleanups! On their own volition they have picked up litter on walking trails, neighborhood streets, and around the sloughs to help eradicate this problem.