Trash impairs the water quality and ecological integrity of our ocean and Ventura County ’s beaches, wetlands, rivers, and waterbodies. Additionally, trash lining Ventura County streets, neighborhoods, parks, wildlife areas, and beaches, is a public health threat, decreases resident well being, drives away tourists, and reduces spiritual, aesthetic, and recreational enjoyment of Ventura County ’s natural resources. 

VCK’s Trash Program strives to reduce trash pollution in Ventura County through: 1.) Community Trash Pickup Events; 2.) Advocacy to improve local and state policy, regulations, best management practices, and stormwater infrastructure; 3.) Education, Outreach, and Community Mobilizing; 4.) Utilization of the Clean Water Act and MS4 Permit; 5.) Monitoring and reporting conducted by Wishtoyo’s VCK Watershed Monitoring Program.

California Coastal Clean Up Day 2013 Event

Join Wishtoyo Foundation and its Ventura Coastkeeper Program at Mugu Rock Beach for the California Coastal Commission’s 29th Annual Coastal Clean Up Day on September 21, 2012 at 9:00 a.m.  The Coastal Commission Event has been coordinated by the Ventura County Coalition for Coastal & Inland Waterways - please click here for volunteer information and for more details! Please bring a signed waiver available at

Click here for a 2010 Monthly Trash Pickup Schedule & to Volunteer

Click here for VCK Trash Pickup Data

Click here to learn about VCK’s J-St. Drain Beautification and Trash Pollution Prevention Project

How Trash Impairs Waterbodies

“Trash in waterways causes significant water quality problems. Small and large floatables can inhibit the growth of aquatic vegetation, decreasing spawning areas and habitats for fish and other living organisms. Wildlife living in rivers and in riparian areas can be harmed by ingesting or becoming entangled in floating trash. Except for large items such as shopping carts, settleables are not always obvious to the eye. They include glass, cigarette butts, rubber, construction debris and more. Settleables can be a problem for bottom feeders and can contribute to sediment contamination. Some debris (e.g. diapers, medical and household waste, and chemicals) are a source of bacteria and toxic substances. Floating debris that is not trapped and removed will eventually end up on the beaches or in the open ocean, repelling visitors away from our beaches and degrading coastal waters.”  - Revised Draft: July 27, 2007 Los Angeles River Watershed Trash TMDL  

How Trash Harms Our Ocean

Trash entering the Ocean from Ventura County’s storm drains and waterways impacts the ecological integrity of our oceans, and our ocean’s marine mammals and fishes. Its is estimated that suspended in the North Pacific Gyre in between North America and Asia is a mass of trash twice the size of Texas. (click here for more info)   

Plastic trash is particularly alarming, not only due to its presence and toxicity, but because it does not biodegrade, but photodegrades and exponentially multiplies into smaller and smaller pieces the size of zooplankton. According to Algalita Fish Research, “broken, degraded plastic pieces outweigh surface zooplankton in the central North Pacific by a factor of 6-1. That means there is approximately six pounds of plastic for every single pound of zooplankton in that region.” (click here for more info) Fish ingest plastic, mistaking it for food, and consume other hydrophobic contaminants sorbed to the plastic along with the pollutants contained in plastic and plastic’s additives. Marine mammals and fish also die from trash entanglement and suffocation. Additionally, researchers are investigating the effect that plastics and trash may have on the water chemistry of our oceans.

Trash is a Threat to Public Health & Wellbeing

Not only does trash significantly impair the ecological integrity of Ventura County’s inland and coastal Waterbodies including Mugu Lagoon, the Ormond Beach Wetlands and its tributaries, the Santa Clara River, Santa Clara River Estuary, the Ventura River, and Ventura County Beaches, but trash in the quantities recorded by VCK’s Watershed Monitoring Program in Ventura County’s waterways, on and originating from Ventura County streets, and on Ventura’s beaches is 1.)  a public health threat and safety hazard because it is a source of and is a conduit for bacteria growth, can be laden with toxic substances or sharp objects, and can provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes; 2.) decreases property values; 3.) decreases resident well being and enjoyment of their communities; 4.) detracts from resident’s and visitor’s aesthetic enjoyment waterbodies and wildlife; and 5.) and drives away visitors and tourists from Ventura County beaches, neighborhoods, commercial establishments, and wildlife sanctuaries.