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This story about Creek to Bay Month is brought to you by the city of Oakland.

Due to COVID-19, the city of Oakland’s Public Works Department is spreading out clean-up activities throughout the month. You and your household are invited to pitch in to clean up neighborhoods, parks, and creeks, and to take other water conservation and protection pledges and actions from home. 

Volunteers who take a pledge and report their actions will receive an Oakland Creek to Bay Day bandana displaying Oakland’s creeks (while supplies last).  Record your #OaktownPROUD pledges at OaklandCreektoBay.org

Although COVID-19 prevents us from gathering in groups like we’ve done for Oakland Creek to Bay for the last 24 years, we can still work together to protect and conserve water at home and in our neighborhoods, while staying physically apart. Our individual and household actions add up to create a shared positive impact across our communities and beyond. Every drop of water saved counts, and each pollutant and piece of trash prevented from entering our local waterways makes a difference. Water conservation and protection can also save money on your water bill and improve the health of your home by eliminating pollutants. Visit OaklandCreektoBay.org for more actions you can take at home and in your community to improve the health of your home, and of our local creeks, Lake Merritt, and the San Francisco Bay. 

Safely participating in local clean-ups provides a valuable service to the coast and our communities alike. Oaktown PROUD is a community-driven campaign to reduce illegal dumping in Oakland by encouraging our neighbors to be PROUD: Prevent and Report Our Unlawful Dumping. Be Oaktown PROUD for Oakland Creek to Bay month, and participate in local, socially distanced cleanups in your neighborhood while following City of Oakland general and COVID-19 safety requirements and guidelines.

Last year, more than 1 million volunteers pitched in across the globe for International Coastal Cleanup Day. Of those volunteers, 226,889 volunteered in the United States, 74,813 volunteered in California, and 2,170 volunteered in Oakland. Last year the mayors of Oakland, San José, and San Francisco challenged each other to a friendly Battle for the Bay competition, to see which city could conduct the most impactful cleanup measured by volunteer turnout, amount of debris removed, and geographic area cleaned. The three cities turned out nearly 6,400 volunteers who picked up more than 200,000 pounds of trash in just one morning. Oakland volunteers removed more than half of that total, by clearing 109,460 pounds of debris from Oakland’s creeks, parks, shorelines, and streets.

Oakland Creek to Bay Day and Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers don’t just clean up, they also collect and report data on the trash they find and remove. This information gives us a better understanding of the types, amounts, and sources of trash impacting our communities. Eighty percent of all trash found in the oceans originates on land. Removing litter, as well as reducing single-use plastics, and other materials that quickly become polluting waste adds up to make a big difference in the cleanliness and health of our neighborhoods, parks, creeks, beaches, and oceans. Report how much trash you remove, the number of hours you volunteer, and any interesting finds at OaklandCreektoBay.org. Tag and share your stories on social media along with before, during, and after photos of your cleanup, using these hashtags: #OaktownPROUD #CreektoBay #VolunteerOakland #ProtectYourHappyPlace

To receive a long-term loan from Oakland Public Works of tools for your volunteer activities, such as work gloves, litter grabbers, brooms, dustpans, and trash bags, apply to adopt your cleanup spot at www.oaklandadoptaspot.orgFor more information, visit www.oaklandcreektobay.org or call (510) 238-7630; 711 for relay service.

RELATED STORIES

September is also National Preparedness Month. Prepare the Oakland Creek to Bay way!  

Some Creek to Bay actions overlap with household and community preparedness and resilience. Volunteering to adopt a block can help neighbors meet, collaborate, and strengthen the neighborhood cohesion and emergency planning.  Adopting storm drains and keeping them clear of trash and debris prevents flooding during storms.  Keeping fats, oil, and grease (FOG) and wipes out of pipes prevents sewage backups and contamination. Water conservation at home saves money and non-toxic gardening aids food security. The best time to plan and take action is now. Find out more tips for improving emergency preparedness and resiliency at: www.ready.gov/september.

This article produced and paid for by the city of Oakland Public Works Department, which plans, builds, and takes care of the physical and environmental parts of the city, making Oakland a great place to live, work, invest, and visit. 

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