West Coast
Matt Brown / Petaluma Argus Courier

CA - After Petaluma River Dredging, Cleanup Begins

The recently completed dredging of the Petaluma River, a long overdue project, cleared the channel of boatloads of mud and silt that had blocked commerce and recreation on the waterway.

But, at the same time, it created a new problem.

All of the material that the dredging barge sucked up from the river bottom was pumped to Shollenberger Park, which was created as a site to offload dredging spoils. That includes all the garbage that got mixed in with the mud.

So, while the river is decidedly cleaner, the dredging work has left a cleanup project for an army of volunteers at Shollenberger.

Most mornings last week, a group of socially distanced volunteers have donned boots, gloves and masks and swept the mucky edges of the Shollenberger lagoon, picking up everything from bits of plastic and golf balls to pieces of tire, traffic cones and even a bowling ball.

The effort, a partnership between the City of Petaluma, the Petaluma Wetlands Alliance and the Friends of the Petaluma River, is the last stage of the dredging project, meant to beautify the park and protect the birds and wildlife that feed on organisms in the nutrient-rich mud.

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