Cleaning up the streams

BY SHANE MICHARD | Evergreen reporter

Those interested in beautifying Pullman’s waterways this weekend are invited to the 11th Annual Pullman Stream Clean-Up.

Saturday at 10 a.m., volunteers from throughout the community will meet at Spring Street Park to search for trash in the reeds of the various streams in town.

Bags in hand, participants will ride buses to the three segments of water: Paradise Creek, Missouri Flat Creek and the South Fork Palouse River.

The cleanup will last two hours, with a gathering for food and refreshments at 12:30 p.m., organized by the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute (PCEI).

PCEI works with the regional community to increase involvement in decisions that affect the local environment and natural resources.

Events like the Annual Stream Cleanup allow them to educate and engage citizens, but PCEI Director of Education Heather Huston said less trash is found every year, despite higher volunteer turnout.

She said the stream cleanup event is collaboration between PCEI and the City of Pullman. City Hall helps with transportation and route specifics, and many local businesses provide gift cards, coffee and food for participants. Gift card prizes will be granted to the especially hardworking.

“We make the event as organized and welcoming as possible,” Huston said. “It’s awesome to see every year, and it’s clearly made a difference.”

She said the PCEI holds multiple cleanup events annually. They also provide programs like adopt-a-stream, where organizations take responsibility of certain sections of a stream.

Pullman Mayor Glenn Johnson will be starting off the event. He said it is in everybody’s best interest to keep the city clean.

“For some reason, people throw trash around, and sometimes it gets in bad places,” Johnson said. “We really want to make sure streams are clean.”

PCEI Outreach Coordinator Daniel Sidder said clearing urban streams of trash is beneficial to wildlife and water quality. In the last decade, he said, beavers and otters have been more commonly spotted in Pullman.

“Each year we see less and less trash, which is great,” Sidder said. “But it’s important for people to start noticing their trash.”

Sidder said PCEI works with local organizations like Kiwanis and Lions, churches and WSU to recruit volunteers.