Ideas about our water emergency from different perspectives
Happily I’ve found there are many water advocates out there. I’ve been learning a lot. On the Save the Bay blog, there was recently a piece about cigarette butts, which are composed of inert plastic and are one of the biggest problems with local water pollution. People think they are paper and will break down, but they do not. Even butts left on busy city streets make there way to the water through the grates and drainage tunnels. I didn’t realize that they are the number one item retrieved at shoreline clean-ups, and Save the Bay even estimated that San Francisco alone spends up to seven million dollars a year in butt clean-up.
I figure it isn’t too hard to pick up a butt when I see one, and prevent it from making its way into the precious acres of wetland habitat that are still thriving around here.
After seeing the burrowing owls at the Salton Sea, I’ve been excited to learn that there are pockets of these birds in my area. One of my favorite dog walks has portions of shore line dedicated to burrowing owl nesting. Shortly after I read the Save the Bay blog, I was walking there – Cesar Chavez Park – avoiding the nesting areas with my excited dogs. I walked the outer trail that runs close to the bay water – only a few feet from the water in some spots. Along the trail I kept noticing butts and realized I could make up a new exercise to pick them up. I bent down enough times in one trail section that I got a nice stretch in my thighs – two birds, as they say.
Now I’ll pick up a few things here and there to amp up my work out and prevent butts from spreading around, pardon the pun. I already have handy dog bags in the car and bring them with me on my walk, so I can easily do my new silly walk-esque exercise, bending down every 20 feet or so for another trash pick-up.
The picture at the top of the post is what I found on a 2-mile walk by the Bay, right near those burrowing owls. I talked with a birder and discovered the owls have moved on by this time of year, so head to Caesar Chavez to see them in the early spring for a better chance. In June I’ve seen brown pelicans, curlews, cormorants, and avocets, I think. Here’s the brown pelican I caught fishing on my cellphone.