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Pollution sours Freshwater field trip

Editor’s Note: This an editorial contribution from Deija Zavala. The author currently works for the Lumberjack as an Online Editor.

I went in search of ferns and ivy, I found instead disgusting evidence of human existence.

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Assorted garbage trailing down the hill just off Greenwood Heights Dr. on Saturday Oct. 13 in the Freshwater area, east of Eureka. | Photo by Deija Zavala

On Saturday I explored a local watershed in the Freshwater area. The field trip was for an Environmental Science Management class where the goal was to visit a local watershed and observe.

I’d seen the beautiful landscape of Freshwater once before and hoped the trip would give me an excuse to get lost for a few hours with nothing but my camera and the wildlife.

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Pieces of cupboards, particle board, aluminum cans, and other miscellaneous debris pile up less than 15 feet from a sign threatening prosecution over illegal dumping on Oct. 13 in Freshwater. | Photo by Deija Zavala

At first, it was lovely. I did a short hike and found myself taken by how separated I was from my Eureka apartment and all the rumbling of engines and people on a sunny weekend morning.

Eventually, I came to a roadside area that had so much debris it looked like a dump. Carcasses, bones and trash of all kinds lay on the side of the road. There were boxes, tiles, kitchen cabinet pieces, bottle caps, cigarette butts and Taco Bell wrappers. It was awful to witness such disregard for the wildlife.

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A cattle bone found next to chunks of kitchen tile and fallen redwood needles on Oct. 13 in Freshwater. | Photo by Deija Zavala

The Environmental Protection Agency website states that this kind of pollution is called nonpoint source pollution. After a big rain or when snowfall melts, nonpoint source pollution can ultimately find its way into drinking water sources such as rivers or lakes and even into ground water.

If you come across an illegal dump, especially if its near a watercourse, you can report it to the Humboldt County Division of Environmental Health at 707-441-5410.

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Abandoned kitchen tiles sit haphazardly amongst trash just off Greenwood Heights Dr. on Oct. 13 in Freshwater. | Photo by Deija Zavala

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