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With so many historic, beautiful parks located a short distance around Sacramento, most notably Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, it is easy to overlook some of the natural resources we have within our own city. However, the US Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Sacramento Area Creek Council, and the Arcade Creek Project are working to make sure that we don’t forget about them. On April 4th, they will host Sacramento’s Creek Week, a cleanup and celebration designed to educate local families and friends in the preservation and enhancement of our local watershed while promoting a healthier atmosphere for our native and endemic wildlife.

The Arcade Creek Watershed was once a fully-functioning part of our complex river system. It serves as a vital riparian corridor, a migratory passage for birds and animals that allows them to seek food and shelter. Today, it is contaminated with a plethora of point and non-point source pollutants, and the biggest pollutants, are trash left behind by passing commuters and a local golf course, which uses tons of fertilizers to keep their grass green. Those ultimately collects as runoff in the creek. Since its contamination, very few aquatic species have managed to adapt to this polluted environment. Creek Week will help remove some of these pollutants and promote the survival of the species that used to call the Arcade Creek home.

The Arcade Creek Project, a collaborative field study led by students at Mira Loma High School, is one of the only science teams that monitors the health and stability of this system year round. Lindsey Paskulin and Sarthak Duggal, students at Mira Loma as well as members of the Arcade Creek Project, lead a team of highly trained students in the proper methods of invasive species extirpation. This group is known as the “Restoration” team, and works specifically to remove invasive plants and replant native ones. They work directly with volunteers who join Creek Week and instruct them on which plants need to be removed and how.

“Creek Week is designed to educate our community about the importance of ecological conservation,” Paskulin says. “People of all ages come to help pick up trash, take down dams, and visit the multiple booths in Carmichael Park. It is an amazing, educational experience where you have the opportunity to give back to your community. The waterways are such an important part of our ecosystem, and it’s important that people recognize this. Through Creek Week, I hope that people can walk away with a better understanding of our watershed system, a more appreciative look on our environment, as well as with different methods of how to conserve our natural environment.”

After the cleaning up trash at the creek, the event will be followed by a celebration at Carmichael Park where other local environmental organizations will present their projects and goals to the community. Hot dogs and t-shirts will be given to all volunteers. The Arcade Creek Project wants volunteers to remember that the effects of Creek Week go beyond helping the local plants and animals- they preserve a beautiful, natural resource that our city has to offer.

“Our community appreciates the aesthetic value of our creek and I wish to keep it this way for many generations to come and the only way to do that is to hold events like this where anyone can come out to help,” says Duggal. “Everyone should attend Creek Week to make a positive contribution to your community, plus you get a free shirt and food!”

The Creek Week celebration will take place at Carmichael Park, located at 5750 Grant Avenue, and will begin at 12pm noon. For those who wish to volunteer at clean up the creek, register at http://www.creekweek.net/volunteer.html. All volunteers are welcome in the family friendy event