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Massive Cleanup Underway to Address the San Diego Riverbed

Mayor Faulconer, Councilmember Sherman to Highlight Aggressive Efforts to Remove Tons of Debris and Unsanitary Conditions from the Riverbed

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – As part of an expanded effort to clean up the San Diego River, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer has ordered City crews to conduct twice-weekly abatements in an aggressive campaign that will remove tons of waste and debris from one of San Diego’s most precious natural resources. Mayor Faulconer was joined Wednesday by City Councilmember Scott Sherman and San Diego River Park Foundation President Rob Hutsel to highlight the massive cleanup effort underway along the riverbed.

Following cleanup efforts by city crews earlier this year that removed more than 66 tons of trash from the riverbed, Mayor Faulconer directed City staff to identify problem areas along the river and a plan to address them on an ongoing basis. So far, crews have already removed more than 10 tons in just four days of cleanup activity.

“This aggressive cleanup is all about restoring one of San Diego’s most beloved natural resources,” Mayor Faulconer said. “We need to take this action to remove significant trash and other debris that has accumulated along the San Diego River. This will be a prolonged and sustained effort to return the riverbed to pristine condition and make sure we keep it that way for many years to come.”

Wednesday’s abatement focused on the Friars Road underpass in the Grantville neighborhood that is considered one of most problematic areas along the river as a result of several homeless encampments. It’s also one of the least accessible sites and requires City crews to haul trash out of the riverbed via a pulley system because of the harsh terrain.

“The San Diego River was my playground as a child,” said Councilmember Sherman. “The sensitive ecosystem helped me develop a strong love for the outdoors that I still cherish today. This massive and ongoing cleanup will help restore the river to a precious natural resource that I remember from my youth.”

The city began this expanded waste and abatement effort last month. Crews are working to clean 78 identified locations along the river every Tuesday and Wednesday over the next several months. Some of the identified sites are owned by private property owners. The City is reaching out to each to coordinate cleanup efforts.

Areas that are part of the City’s cleanup efforts include:

  • Dog Beach/Ocean Beach
  • Mission Bay Park/Mission Valley Preserve/Sefton Park
  • Fashion Valley
  • Qualcomm Way
  • SDCCU Stadium area
  • Grantville

The City’s efforts are in coordination with the ongoing cleanup activities undertaken by the River Park Foundation.

As with similar abatement efforts in downtown San Diego, if the area identified for removal is an active homeless encampment, notices are posted along the river 72 hours in advance of the cleaning. Crews occasionally encounter homeless individuals living along the river. Each individual is offered a bed and supportive services by the San Diego Police Department.

CONTACT: Greg Block at (619) 227-3752 or [email protected]

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