CalRecycle Grant Funds Yolo County Slough Cleanup

A rural area in Yolo County that has proven to be both a haven for songbirds and a target for illegal dumping is getting cleaned up with funding from CalRecycle.

Landowners worked with the Yolo County Resource Conservation District to apply for a grant to clean up illegally dumped material, including garbage, appliances, and an estimated 250 to 500 waste tires, along a 15-acre section of Babel Slough. CalRecycle awarded the conservation district a $50,000 Farm and Ranch Cleanup and Abatement Grant for the project.

Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps workers pull a large bag of garbage up an embankment at Babel Slough.

Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps workers pull a large bag of garbage up an embankment at Babel Slough.

The farm and ranch grant program plays a vital role in protecting human health and the environment. This portion of Babel Slough winds through active farmland, and farmers use the water to irrigate adjacent fields. Local farmers and ranchers pick up waste along the banks and roadways on a weekly basis and dispose of it legally, but they sought help for the material that required special equipment and a more concerted effort, including tires and appliances partially sunken in mud at the bottom of steep embankments. The resource conservation district joined forces with the Sacramento Regional Conservation Corps, which has conducted similar cleanups, for the project.

After several hours, conservation corps workers had pulled piles of trash, including tires and appliances, from the water, and put them in piles along Babel Slough Road for removal. The piles lined the road for more than half a mile.

In 2018, another stretch of the slough was cleaned up with a previous grant from CalRecycle. The conservation district intends to apply for a third grant for the final stretch in an upcoming grant cycle. Grants are limited to $50,000 per cleanup or abatement project, with a limit of $200,000 per year.

While the project will result in cleaner irrigation water for the nearby agricultural fields, it will also provide a healthier habitat for the plants and animals that live there, including tree swallows, bay-breasted warblers, black-chinned sparrows, and American redstarts.

Left: Workers bag illegally dumped material at the bottom of the slough. Right: Debris is piled at the side of Babel Slough Road for removal.

Left: Workers bag illegally dumped material at the bottom of the slough. Right: Debris is piled at the side of Babel Slough Road for removal. 

For more information, including how to apply for a grant, see our Farm and Ranch Solid Waste Cleanup and Abatement Grant Program webpage.

— Christina Files
Posted on Jan 17, 2019

Summary: A rural area in Yolo County that has proven to be both a haven for songbirds and a target for illegal dumping is getting cleaned up with funding from CalRecycle.