Topanga Canyon News
Stream Cleaning
By Amber Adelmann
Apr 29, 2012 - 6:31:33 PM

TOPANGA CANYON­—The Creek Stream Team picked a sunny day to work outside with in the beautiful lower creek of Topanga Canyon, so close to the ocean that they could breathe in the beach air while pulling weeds and cleaning. About halfway to the beach through Topanga Canyon Boulevard, the sun hid behind a white sky and clouds covered the coast, giving a refreshing coolness to the workers. To kick off the Earth Day weekend, these volunteers gained free admission into the Topanga Earth Day Festival that was held the next day.

As part of the RCDSMM (Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains) the Stream Team teamed up with California State Parks, the Temescal Canyon Association, and Sierra Club Trails Crew for funding and support.

Volunteers gather around Rosie Dagit, the head of the Topanga Creek Stream Team on Saturday morning. Photo credit Scott Hill.

The head of the Topanga Creek Stream Team is a multi-faceted individual who wears many different hats within the effort of environmental projects. Rosi Dagit is the Senior Conservation Biologist and Certified Arborist and has been working at the RCDSMM for 24 years, starting when she moved to Los Angeles. She is actively involved with research, project initiatives and efforts of restoration and preservation of both land and creatures alike. She and Conservation Biologist Jenna Krug were recently on an interesting project together, as Rosi explains, "we spent the last two days counting frogs in the creek."
In the foggy lower creek on Saturday, one could find Rosi and Jenna working among 100 other people from the California Science Center, which has a big outreach program for families. These volunteers were mixed in age, but came together on a similar note: to help replant and replenish what was lost by the  trash that destroyed plant life and general ecosystem balance. "In 2008 we took out 1,334 truck loads [of trash] that had been dumped by former renters, and each weighed 20 tons,” Dagit  recalled. “That's about 26 thousand tons." Since then, a channel has been restored to allow for the creek to flow naturally. Dagit says gladly, "Now we have a creek channel, doing what it's supposed to do, and it works."
In an effort to keep the area living and breathing healthfully, this event will continue.
"We have been doing the Earth Day creak cleanup since 2000 every year," Dagit noted. That year, they did an event where massive amounts of old cars and waste were airlifted out, clearing objects big and small that disrupted the environment. The Creek Team started in the mid 90's doing general cleanups and have been clearing out 2-8 tons of trash each year. Dagit says, "Since 2009 we have been focusing our efforts on helping try to re-navigate and restore Lower Topanga Creek.”

Lower Topanga Creek on Saturday, April 21. Photo credit Amber Adelmann.

Keeping it very green, Dagit talks about Saturday's event by saying "it's a no-waste event." The plants they pulled out were turned into mulch, which in turn helped the soil. They also encouraged native plant activity. Dagit says, "It was really satisfying because we were finding all the native plants behind the others to give them space and room to grow."
There are many opportunities to help, and the next one one can be involved in is a coastal cleanup in September. "We can use all the help we can get," Dagit explained cheerfully.

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