The Federal Way, Wash., angler who has led a drive to clean up Puget Sound rivers this fall as well as the volunteers he’s recruited recently received kudos from Olympia.
In a letter dated October 23, 2009, Governor Christine Gregoire wrote to Rosendo Guerrero:
I was delighted to learn that you and your team will be participating in the Skykomish River Cleanup this weekend, with future events scheduled at the Skagit and Cowlitz rivers.
As anglers, you see the challenges facing our watercourses firsthand. Washington is home to magnificent natural resources, but we must work together to ensure that they stay that way. I appreciate your initiative and applaud each of you for volunteering ycur time to help preserve the health of our rivers and streams.
The stewardship of our natural resources is vital, not only for the health of the environment, but also for the enjoyment of future generations. With your cleanup at the Puyallup River yielding over 1.5 tons of trash and debris, your exceptional efforts are truly making a difference. I hope your good work will motivate and inspire others to step up and embrace their role as agents of change and good stewards ofour natural resources.
Thank you for again your incredible spirit of action, and please accept my best wishes for a successful volunteer effort.
Guerrero heads up Sportsmen for the Preservation of Our Rivers and Streams, organized in late summer after bumper salmon runs drew large crowds of anglers to local rivers. Some, unfortunately, left their tackle, drink and food packaging and other junk behind, giving all sport fishermen a black eye in media reports.
“I’m just an angler who enjoys and respects nature and will not let these idiots destroy the beauty of our natural rivers and streams,” Guerrero wrote me.
The Oct. 3 event on the Puyallup, which drew 80 volunteers, cleaned up refuse fishermen left behind, as well as old tires, chairs, furniture, clothing and other stuff one wouldn’t normally find in a tackle box or fishing vest.
With the Skykomish River high and muddy last weekend, 30 volunteers picked up around 600 pounds of garbage at two boat launches and along a street anglers park off of.
Trash included numerous empty plastic water and soda bottles, beer cans and bottles, cigarette packages, wrappers and other items.
Guerrero’s final cleanup of the year is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon Nov. 7 on the lower Skagit River. Headquarters is Riverfront Park, 1001 River Road, in Sedro-Woolley.
To join, email Guerrero at firstname.lastname@example.org.
POSTSCRIPT: Guerrero and Sportsman for the Preservation of our Rivers and Streams received a thank you letter from the mayor of Monroe, Donetta Walser, after the clean-up on the Skykomish.
“This project was a wonderful visual enhancement and quality of life development to our fragile river ecosystem … Volunteer projects like this build a sense of pride that is critical for the health and well being of our community,” she writes.