Members of Flagstaff's Sustainability and Stormwater Management Programs hosted an event that left the city a little greener. A stream cleanup took place Thursday in the runoff areas near the Walmart at South Woodlands Village Boulevard.
Community volunteers and event organizers participated in the cleanup, and cleaning supplies were provided by members of the sustainability program. Volunteers chose areas near the storm drains outside the parking lot to clean.
Flagstaff’s Stormwater Utility personnel were also present to address drainage concerns throughout the city. Ed Schenk, manager of the city's Stormwater project, spoke on the importance of stream cleanups.
“We have 44 miles of stream and channel that we maintain throughout the city and it’s important for keeping trash out of there," Schenk said. "It keeps our water quality up and is also part of beautification for the city.”
Along with water quality risks, Schenk said there are health concerns that dirty streams present to the public.
“This could also affect public health," Schenk said. "We don’t really want a bunch of different trash out there, especially when there is stuff that could contain chemicals."
The Sustainability Program hosts multiple cleanups throughout the year, alongside other environmentally driven events. Previous events included a free home energy efficiency workshop and a back to school downtown litter clean up.
Sustainability Program event coordinator Maggie Twomey said the city is working hard to promote sustainable living.
“Flagstaff has recently adapted a climate action adaptation plan,” Twomey said. “We are also working on everyday things people can do to make a difference, like riding a bike or city bus to work instead of driving your car.”
The cleanup events are part of Flagstaff’s larger plan to maintain sustainability and the city’s environment. Twomey said the city supports the sustainability program's goals.
“I think the city of Flagstaff as a government agency is really supportive of all these things,” Twomey said. “We teach composting, we teach home water conservation, we teach home energy efficiency and so many other aspects of sustainability.”
Following the Thursday stream cleanup, the sustainability program is set to host two other cleanup events in October. Twomey said these events are an easy way for the community to get involved.
The Flagstaff 15 Minute Makeover will take place on Tuesday, and participants are encouraged to step outside at 10:15 a.m. to pick up trash in their area, for at least 15 minutes.
The program is also extending these cleanups to south Flagstaff. Twomey said Make a Difference Day will be held closer to that side of town. The event will be held Oct. 19 at the Murdoch Community Center at 8 a.m.
“We will be doing a trash cleanup of the Rio de Flag that runs through the south side," Twomey said. "We are also going to install educational stormwater drain signs.”
There are many upcoming cleanups that provide additional opportunities for those interested in volunteering to get involved.