Homeless Camp Waste Leads To Big Toxic Discharge After Massive Storm

Wednesday’s massive storm had rivers rising all around our area. In Sacramento County, the surge of water swept away toxic waste from homeless camps and sent it all downstream.

One section of Steelhead Creek, hit hard by toxic debris from homeless camps, grabbed the attention of geologist Roland Brady.

One day after the storm, Brady came out to see the aftermath.

“I wouldn’t drink it,” Brady said. “I would never drink it. What you’ll see are places that look like a solid waste disposal site, with a creek flowing through it.”

The storm is now sending all that waste through the delta and out to sea.

“And that’s what really frustrates me, is that there’s very good control over just about everything else, but here it just happens in an enormous volume, every time it rains,” Brady said.

Brady is a volunteer steward of a mile long section of Steelhead Creek, where homeless camps have created massive piles of waste and debris.

Photos show the mess along his section of the creek in December, ahead of the largest ever clean up in the creek’s history. Crews removed 100,000 pounds of homeless camp debris

“What we didn’t get, is in the water,” Brady said. “What we did get, is not in the water.”

Sacramento County approved $5 million in increased funds to clean up areas along the American River Parkway last year.

Brady says on Steelhead Creek, east of the El Camino bridge, no agency is claiming responsibility for cleaning as of now.

More at CBSLocal.com >>>

Portion of American River bike trail collapses due to rain

A portion of the American River Parkway bike trail in the Rancho Cordova area has collapsed Thursday due to erosion from rain.

Repair crews have closed off the surrounding area while they work on reducing damage from the erosion.

The Sacramento Valley has a higher risk of thunderstorms Thursday afternoon than anywhere else in the country, according to the Storm Prediction Shelter.

More at KCRA.com >>>

Bracing State Parks warning may be saving American River lives

Sergio Garcia made a deadly dare and lost his life when he plunged into the icy, swift-flowing north fork American River near Auburn.

And while the 20-year-old Thornton college student’s June 2017 death in the canyon near Auburn was a tragedy, it moved State Parks rangers to introduce a new safety measure that is believed to have played a major role since then in preventing more lives lost since.

Superintendent Mike Howard of the Auburn State Recreation Area said that there were several close calls in the canyon but deaths this year on the river had not taken place.

And one of the reasons is believed to be a warning measure that came as a direct result of an electric board sign that was posted during the high-water period for a month after Garcia’s death, he said.

During the month the message to stay out of the water and stay alive was up, there were no fatalities in Auburn State Recreation Area related to the river. The river has two forks — the middle and north — that converge at the confluence in the canyon below Auburn.

More at AuburnJournal.com >>>

Boulders, Bikers … And Eagles? A New Setback For Re-Opening American River Bike Trail Near Lake Natoma

A pair of bald eagles is making it tough to repair a much-needed portion of a popular bike trail along the American River.

But the eagles are just the newest setback for the trail’s maintenance. A storm caused boulders and earth to tumble onto the trail last winter. That closed a portion of a trail within the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. The Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail wraps around Lake Natoma near the Arden Bluff region of Orangevale. It’s part of a system of trails that links downtown Sacramento to Folsom Lake.

“During the summer, the eaglets flew the nest, and so the parents left,” said Adeline Yee, a spokesperson for California State Parks, who added that, “just last week the pair came back, and they are now building a new nest, which means it would be illegal to do anything to disturb them while they are present.”

The eagles have nested in the area for two years. If the couple successfully produces offspring, it will stay until mid-summer. Last year, the birds hatched two eaglets.

More at CapRadio.org >>>

Is ‘Negro Bar’ an offensive park name? A new petition effort says it is

A petition calling for Folsom’s Negro Bar Recreation Area to be renamed is gaining traction online, arguing that the current race-related name is “out-of-date and offensive.”The petition was initially created in September by Stockton resident Phaedra Jones after she saw a sign for the park while driving through Folsom. It has more than 3,800 signatures as of about 2 p.m. Wednesday.

“I was so confused, shocked, angry, putdown, sad, hurt, disrespected and in disbelief. I couldn’t believe that I had actually seen a sign that read ‘Negro Bar,’” Jones wrote in her petition.

The park’s name is derived from the racist moniker tied to a similar gravel bar just across the water where Black miners discovered gold during the Gold Rush. Through the 1930s, the site was known and identified with the racist term both in newspapers, and in at least one U.S. Geological Survey from 1941, according to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names.

“The Name Negro Bar has been offensive for literally decades. I am sure historians can find the name of at least ONE African American Miner or Settler whose name can be used,” reads one comment from a petitioner.

“It’s offensive and unwelcoming. The fact that we still haven’t changed the name reflects poorly on our community,” another said.

More at SacBee.com >>>

Is PG&E going too far in cutting trees for fire safety? A Sacramento group says yes


Criticized for its role in several catastrophic California wildfires, state utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric is on a mission to clear trees near power lines that could topple and hit lines causing fires.

But is the giant utility going too far? A group of Sacramentans is saying yes.

Some members of the Save the American River Association and the American River Parkway Coalition and others are fighting to stop PG&E from cutting down what they estimate could be 100 cottonwood and oak trees near a major electricity transmission line that runs through the parkway near Discovery Park.

That includes trees flanking the paved recreation trail, they say, based on blue dots the utility appears recently to have sprayed on trees. Saying they fear the utility company is overreacting, the group’s representatives say they want the utility company and the county, which oversees the parkway, to show evidence that trees need to be cut down rather than pruned.

“We do not think that process and planning should be thrown to the wind in a panic over the global problem of dealing with wildfires in California,” the river association’s Betsy Weiland said. “What is the real fire risk here?”

The disputed treeline in Sacramento runs for about a half mile along the north edge of the parkway, south of the Garden Highway and east of Discovery Park.

Weiland’s complaint echoes one earlier this year by some Napa residents who felt PG&E was overzealous in cutting trees there.

PG&E officials say the parkway tree-cutting and brush-clearing project, which could start this month, is part of ambitious maintenance and fire-risk reduction work the company has been doing around the state since 2008 after the California Public Utilities Commission toughened its safety and outage regulations.

More at SacBee.com >>>

American River Parkway bike trail will be closed due to a controlled fire

The Jedediah Smith Memorial trail will be closed from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. between miles 16 and 17 Friday because of a controlled burn conducted by the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

If weather and air quality permit, the burn will take place in the American River Parkway near Ambassador Drive, according to the American River Parkway Foundation.

More at SacBee.com >>>

Three fires, one ‘suspicious,’ lead to busy night for Sacramento Fire Department

Sacramento Fire Department crews responded to three fires Sunday through early Monday morning, with at least one considered “suspicious” by investigators.

Fire personnel responded Sunday afternoon to a fire that started near North 10th and North B Street. Fire Department spokesman Capt. Keith Wade said no suspect had been located, but the “highly suspicious” blaze ignited outside a recycling plant before spreading into the unit. That fire was extinguished about 5 p.m., authorities said.

Wade said the fire may have started near a homeless encampment in the area, and is being investigated as a possible arson.

Another fire, around 11:30 p.m. Sunday in the Lower American River Parkway, also broke out in a homeless encampment, Wade said. The 1-acre fire took three engines about an hour to put out, he said.

More at SacBee.com >>>

10 tons of trashed removed from American River during annual cleanup

The American River Parkway Foundation collected more than 20,176 of pounds – more than 10 tons – of trash Saturday from the American River in just three hours, according to the group who organized the event.

From 9 a.m. to noon, more than 1,200 volunteers scoured a 26-mile stretch of the American River Parkway from Discovery Park in Sacramento to Negro Bar Recreation Area in Folsom for the foundation’s annual Great American River Cleanup. The event is held annually in conjunction with the California Coastal Cleanup Day.

“Our biggest cleanup of the year is underway! Excitement is in the air – thanks to all who are helping remove trash and debris from the American River Parkway this morning,” ARPF said in a post on its Facebook page.

Volunteers removed more than 27,000 pounds of trash during last year’s cleanup, ARPF said.

More at SacBee.com >>>