Trash is pervasive in the streets and streams of the Los Angeles River Watershed, a River with one of the nation’s first trash TMDLs. The ecological, health, and aesthetic impacts of trash are increasingly coming into focus. While the solutions and consequences of the trash issue are complex, we can begin with a better inventory of trash extent within the watershed by engaging future scientists, leaders, and voters on the issue. The proposed project is inspired by the pervasiveness of trash at popular recreational sites monitored by Council for Watershed Health (CWH), and leverages an ongoing partnership with Pasadena City College (PCC). The proposed project will aid in coordinating and training local students to assess their own communities for trash, provide a hands-on opportunity for students to engage in a local water quality issue and scientific research, and activate and leverage collected data through the creation of trash maps and educational resources. Students from PCC will be trained to implement a customized trash assessment that, like the riverine trash assessment implemented as part of the 2018 Bight Program, will involve trash surveys that count and categorize trash types. CWH, in partnership with PCC instructors, will create educational resources that highlight the impact of trash and visualize the project’s findings. After data collection concludes, instructor interviews and student focus groups will further inform the development of educational resources, communication strategies, and messaging. The resources and trash maps generated through this program will be shared with decision makers and stakeholders to inform future research, signage, and target best management practices. Additionally, the resources and framework for participation will be made available for other educators to implement in their own classrooms.
Council for Watershed Health
Enhancing Trash Assessments and Developing Educational Tools Through Student Participation
California Watershed Protection Fund, 2020
Water Resources / Watershed Protection ; Environmental Education
Los Angeles County