FAIRFIELD — An orphan got a lot of love Saturday morning despite a heavy rain that didn’t stop scores of people with plastic bags.
The Coast & Creek Cleanup coordinated by the Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District included crews at Solano Community College along Upper Dan Wilson Creek, a waterway that environmental science and biology professor Pam Muick said was once just one among many tributaries.
“This is a like a little orphan creek that’s been turned into a ditch,” Muick said of Upper Dan Wilson.
When the site of the college was marshland a century ago the area was rich in tributaries, the professor recounted – and the Dan Wilson Creek that remains brought students and others Saturday to carefully tend to the waterway.
“I bike every day,” said Fairfield resident Thomas Henshall, 29. “I see all the trash.”
Henshall and others helping clean up the creek at the college had company around Fairfield and Suisun City even though a light rain turned into a serious downpour around 10:30 a.m.
Keven Cullen, cleanup coordinator for the two cities, said Saturday’s turnout of nearly 500 people is the second highest in the more than decade-long history of the event. He credits outreach to churches as helping with the turnout.
Steve and Melissa Callister, 28, with their daughters Allison, 3, and Amy, 1, were at the college after hearing about the event at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints along Suisun Valley Road.
Fairfield resident Yuki De Jesus, 21, a Solano College student, participated as well.
“It feels good waking up early and helping out,” he said.
Chase Wiley, 21, lives in Benicia, attends Solano College and spoke about the importance of Upper Dan Wilson and other waterways.
“Life generates around water,” Wiley said.
At Union Creek in Fairfield behind the Masonic Lodge, volunteers included Charles Vandenbos, 37, and his daughter Savannah, 17. They were at Union Creek two years ago and said the site looks better this year.
Still, Jennifer Guinn, 36, of Fairfield, who was further up the waterway said Union Creek held surprises – among them an oil rag and an old rubber hose.
“It’s disgusting what we’re finding,” she said.
Coordinator Cullen said that among 16 sites were other unusual finds including a leaf blower, cable TV boxes and a makeshift bong. Last year, more than 80,000 volunteers in California collected trash from creeks, lakes, rivers and beaches.
Meg Herston, an environmental engineer with the Fairfield sewer district who helped coordinate the Union Creek cleanup, said that waterway – like a lot of local creeks – aren’t high-profile sites for the public.
“They’re hidden,” Herston said and not accessible. To get to the creek for the cleanup, she noted, “I had to have a key.”
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.