District focuses on creek cleanup, now that bird nesting season is over

By Karen Brainard

Bird nesting season is over, so that means Santa Maria Creek cleanup can begin.

Ramona Municipal Water District has been planning to clean up the creek area behind Ramona Community Park, which it owns, but wildlife agencies requested no work be done until after bird nesting season, which ended Sept. 15.

Ramona Fire Department/Cal Fire Battalion Chief Burke Kremensky said the district hopes to schedule crews to begin in mid-October “barring any emergencies.”

The overgrown, trash-infused creek bed has created concerns for public safety, as it provides a place for criminals and drug users to hide and for homeless to live, according to authorities. The overgrowth could also cause flooding during heavy rains or provide fuel for fire, residents have said.

Cleaning it out, however, is a delicate matter. Guidelines from wildlife agencies must be followed to avoid any fines for violating environmental restrictions, such as using machinery or removing sensitive habitat.

Kremensky said the water district will have a biologist walk the site to determine what can be removed.

“There’s a lot of trash and debris left in the bed,” he noted.

Kremensky said the water district’s portion of the creek has about “two-days worth” of trash removal. There is also a lot of dead vegetation and broken branches, he said.

The district plans to use crews from the Puerta La Cruz Conservation Camp in Warner Springs for the cleanup work.

   
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