Creek Cleanup FAQ’s

ED2013031_creekQ: What do I need to know about creek cleanups?  Are they different from a beach or neighborhood cleanup?
Cleaning up a creek has its special considerations with regards to everyone’s safety including that of wildlife. When cleaning up a creek area, be mindful you are in wildlife habitat. The riparian corridor is full of thick brush and overgrown vegetation that often times, is unfriendly such as like poison oak and prickly thistle. A creek environment can be challenging to navigate. Overhanging branches, slippery surfaces, poison oak, thorny plants and ticks are just a few of the hazards along a creek’s riparian corridor.  Think safety first!

Q: How do I prepare to join a creek cleanup?
A: Be sure to read our Creek Cleanup Guidelines after registering to participate, and before heading out to the creek cleanup site.

Q: What should I wear to a cleanup?
A: Volunteers should wear appropriate footgear (closed-toe shoes, no flip-flops please), and clothing to protect from the weather, sun, bugs, ticks and scratches from thorny unfriendly plants and vegetation. We suggest long pants and sleeves, and a weather-appropriate jacket.  Don’t wear shorts, sleeveless shirts, or sandals. Tuck pants into socks or boots, and shirts into pants. Light-colored clothing makes it easier to see ticks before they attach to the skin.  Be ready to get wet!

Q: What should I bring to a cleanup?
A: Each volunteer should bring a bucket (1 to 5 gallon) and a pair of reusable cloth gloves to reduce waste and be more sustainable. All other supplies are provided by the site captain upon check-in. No need to bring bags. Bring snacks and plenty of water (preferably in a reusable bottle).

Q:  Should I wear insect repellent?
A: You can wear insect repellents that work for mosquitoes –  they are effective against ticks. Look for formulas containing DEET, and apply according to the label instructions only. Insect-repellent clothing is also available. Children should not apply concentrations of DEET higher than 10%.

Q: What do I do if I’ve found, or been bitten by a tick?
A:  Ticks can carry Lymes disease. If a tick is found, notify your site captain and the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District online, or by phone at (650) 344-8592 for testing.  Note: The whole tick which has bitten a human should be submitted as soon as possible. Read more information about protecting yourself from ticks here.

Q:  Do I need to be in good physical condition to join a creek cleanup?
A: Unlike being on the beach for a cleanup, creeks can be more physically challenging.  However, we believe involvement in creek stewardship should not be limited to being physically able to participate.  If you have an impairment, but would like to participate, you can lend a hand by helping out with non-strenuous activities such as site check-in, data collection, light equipment distribution, and other tasks that support the site captain.  Contact us for more information.

Q:  How can I sponsor a creek cleanup?
A: You can sponsor creek cleanups by making a tax deductible contribution or in-kind donation at any time of the year.


If your question has not been answered, you can always contact us directly.