were paddled. Normally such activities are prohibited at the Bolsa
Chica Ecological Reserve. In fact, this was only the second such
sanctioned event that we're aware of in at least 20 years. But this
was no recreational outing. Under the auspices of the California
Department of Fish and Game and led by Laura Bandy of the Bolsa Chica
Conservancy, these kayak enthusiasts were part of the annual
September coastal cleanup.
A number of years ago, Vic and Jim Robins, who is current
president of the Amigos de Bolsa Chica, obtained permission from the
Department of Fish and Game to take a canoe into outer Bolsa Bay to
pick up some of the more visible trash littering the mudflats.
Shopping carts, orange traffic cones, and plastic milk crates often
find their way into the flood control channels from some of the less
socially conscious neighborhoods of Santa Ana, Garden Grove,
Westminster and Huntington Beach. After a heavy rain, the refuse of
urban living winds up stuck in the mudflats. The rubbish is an
eyesore to visitors to the wetlands, and clutters up the feeding
grounds of the tens of thousands of migratory and wintering birds
that use the Bolsa Chica.
As is usual on a coastal cleanup day, hordes of dedicated people
in orange vests swarmed over the pickleweed and sand dunes on
Saturday, picking up the debris and detritus of a disposable society.
What was unusual was the opportunity for a select few kayaking and
canoeing enthusiasts to get into the water for a very limited time to
pick up trash from the mudflats.
The experiment was remarkably effective. The kayakers filled trash
bags and handed them off to the crew in the canoe. Once the canoeists
had 10 to 12 bags, they paddled to shore, delivered their load to a
waiting land crew, and returned for more bags. By late morning, the
fog had lifted and the flotilla of kayakers had removed 40 to 50
large bags of trash, including lots of fishing line, lures, plastic
six-pack holders, and even a rubber duckie that escaped from the
Duckathon. They had also managed to retrieve a couch, a chair and a
55-gallon drum that used to contain Lord only knows what.