Monday, 3 March 2014

February Beach Clean-Up, Bags of Smells and Burrtec

It was a very peaceful cloudy perfect morning at the Salton Sea on the 22nd February for the clean-up of the illegal dumpsite near the shoreline.

First off, I want to thank the helpers that were able to make it: Andrew Lawrence (Salton City/Murrietta), George Mohoff (Salton City), Jim Jones (Indio), Kerry F. Morrison (Fullerton), Lorraine Salas (Palm Desert) and Sandy Sierra (Niland).

 We were privileged to have Sandy with us - she is a reporter for the Imperial Valley Press and did an article on the clean-up. And furthermore, Sandy put on some gloves and dug right in! Thank you so much Sandy, for going way beyond your call of duty.

Here is the link to the article she wrote: 

(l-r) Andrew Lawrence, Sandy Sierra, Jim Jones

(l-r) Andrew Lawrence, Sandy Sierra, Jim Jones, Kerry F Morrison 

Jim Jones

Sandy Sierra

Lorraine Salas

As a reminder - the before and after shots:

After the clean-up, I took the van and trailer to the Salton City landfill to get rid of the items that we had gathered up.

Upon getting there, I was told that it would cost me $10.

Hang on! Since when do we pay extra to use our own local dump site? We already pay just under $80 taxes from the property tax to the Burrtec Salton City landfill.  I am told they have a new pricing structure, which apparently came into play on the 1st January, 2014 and the costs now depend on what the resident is bringing and the size of the load.

Then I am told that the reason that Burrtec have introduced these charges is that they are not able to cover their costs from the property taxes alone, they lose money, as the property tax also pays for the trash services 52 times a year. This is simply not true.

The $80 a year allows the resident to be able to use the landfill. This does NOT include the trash services where they come and collect from the house 52 a year. That is extra: about $336 a year on top of the property tax.

Not every resident who shows up at the dump site gets charged extra I am told. I was being charged for two reasons: For a start, as I was bringing in a trailer and because I was bringing in someone else's trash. "You should not go and clean someone else's trash".

So, we should just let it sit there and rot instead and blow into the Sea in an area in Salton City that is frequently visited by tourists and residents. Welcome.

It was a community, volunteer clean-up and it was an illegal dump site on the shoreline. Are Burrtec going to go and clean it? I would like to see the day that happens.

I firmly believe (and am not the only one and wrote about this): Trash begets more trash.

If we ARE able to make a difference to the community, why are we being told that we shouldn't? 

Illegal dumping will cost the perpetrator $2000, I am told.

As if that matters in a community with low-density residential areas. How often do the illegal dumpers get caught? Last time I went to the police with news of an illegal dumpsite, the cop treated me like a criminal and told me they don't have time for that.

Since the clean-ups have started on a more regular basis in 2012, the stretches of beach front where we have cleaned, have actually remained pretty nice.

Now, that Burrtec are charging for more of their services, it will invite even more illegal dumping to happen. The $10 charge does not actually cover a whole lot of trash.

In the end, they did not charge me, but next time, they will. It makes me so mad that such a large, profitable corporation as Burrtec have found yet another way to screw their local residents, who are already paying for their services.

And secondly, shouldn't they be encouraging community, volunteer-based behavior? I bring that question to the readers.

To finish on a more positive note:

Thank you to all the volunteers for coming to the clean-up! I always enjoy your company! Thank you Jim Jones for the beautiful lemons!And I thank Abraham Marquez at Imperial Visions for his support!! 

Friday, 14 February 2014

Cleanup DATE confirmed! 22nd February - 9-11am. Details below!

First things first:

Happy Valentines Day!


The clean up will take place on the 22nd of February starting at 9am! I will bring water and some treats/snacks, gloves, some picker uppers, trash bags!!! This is the illegal dump site that I recently wrote about. We cleaned up that site a year ago, pretty much to the day (24th Feb, 2013):

Street: Sea Port Ave, Salton City 92275 - BY THE SEA SHORE. 

One street south of Sea Garden Ave (Johnson's Landing), on the other side of the wash.

Turn towards the Sea from South Marina DR and you will see me just up a short way on the peninsula.

See you there.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Pelican Days and Clean-Up Day

The date for the clean-up (see photos below) will be the 22nd February - a Saturday from 9am to Noon!!

Please email me info(at) to let me know you're coming so I can gauge numbers and I may put you in groups into different areas (but all within a couple of miles in Salton City along the shoreline).

This past Saturday I was attending the Pelican Days held at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area along with books and prints in tow and it was great. There were a lot of people there from all over, including a young man who was visiting from Luxembourg!

I got to speak with several artists and photographers, including Mark Stewart from the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge who certainly knows a thing or two about photography and does gorgeous work! He focuses on birds and wildlife in general, a lot of it shot at Sonny Bono NWR.

It was great to be at the park all day and see how the lighting changes the Sea; it was a cloudy day too, hazy, and with that great hazy line that looks as though water is evaporating and as though waterfalls were tumbling down the side of the desert mountains on the other side of the Sea: a fata morgana. It was hard to capture as I only had my 50mm standard SLR lens but here is a cropped image:

So when I wasn't standing at my booth chitchatting about the Sea with various patrons, visitors, or scientists, I would run down to the shoreline and photograph, mesmerised by the hourly changes, some subtle, some drastic, all sublime.

Thank you to Connie and Fredda  at the State Recreation Area for having me!!!

Friday, 24 January 2014

UPDATE - that what plagues the Sea.

We had cleaned this area before but looks like we will have to clean it again. Date tbc. Possibly the 8th Feb. Off of Sea Port Ave, East of South Marina in Salton City. Thank you to Terri for spotting it and passing on the info. 

Sunday, 19 January 2014

In Heaven as on Earth

What I love about the Sea - one of the many things - is that when the Sea is still and calm, and when there are clouds, you are looking at perfect reflections. This was such a day about a week ago. I took tons of photos. And I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed strolling along the shoreline.

On a sad note, I just found out (again) that someone has been illegally dumping possibly in the same spot that we just cleaned up in November. This I will investigate. Thoughts about organizing clean-up in February (8th, Saturday) are stirring in my mind. I will keep you posted on this matter.

On a more positive note, the Salton Sea has come to the Palm Springs International Airport! The City of Palm Springs had a call for entry several months back and my work was accepted into the show. Some of my Salton Sea photos from my Portraits and Voices of the Salton Sea project are currently hanging, alongside superb art work by local artists! There will be a reception, the date has to be confirmed.

Also coming up are the Pelican Days birding festival at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area - 24th-26th January! I will be there all day on the 25th with books and some prints.

As a last note, please get in touch with me if you have any stories or comments to make on the Salton Sea and would like to be featured in my Voices and Portraits section. I and the readers (Yes I am speaking on behalf of you) love to see photos of the Salton Sea and hearing your stories. Get in touch - info(at) Thanks!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Why Clean ups are so important - in Pictures

I want to thank each and everyone that came out to the clean up in Salton City on the 9th of November as part of the annual California Coastal Commission beach clean-up efforts. 

George Mohoff, Ed Hoffman, Jeff Church, Jim Jones, Katianne Herbert, Kalila Herbert, Alita Romanishan, Janet Davis, Junior Ramirez, Maryanne Marttila, Jennifer Spitzer, Bruce Wilcox, Ivan Soto, Jessica Ayres, Frances Castillo and Ben Castro - you are all amazing. 

The volunteers came from Salton City and other Salton Sea towns, from El Centro, Indio, Palm Desert and Long Beach to spend their Saturday morning cleaning up other people's messes along the shoreline of the Salton Sea. 

That is pretty cool. 

The illegal dumpsite in the wash, which I had previously written about is CLEAN. As is all the other items we found along the shore, including the dumped newspapers, a couch and a huge variety of other items.   


Alita, Kalila and Ben

We hauled off about 0.3 tonnes of trash. We did this by using two personal trailers, as unfortunately we did not have the use of roll-off dumpsters.

Photo by Ivan Soto

Some pretty neat things were found!



Photo by Kalila Herbert - Jennifer

And it was a great morning of camaderie. 


Photo by Kalila Herbert


Jim, Jeff and Ben

Maryanne and Ed

Frances, Jessica, Ivan

Photo by Jessica Ayres - Ivan

Photo by Ivan Soto - Jessica

3 generations! Janet, Kalila and Katianne

I did recently write an article about illegal dumping and my thoughts on it, so please feel free to visit and read it:

Next clean-up is in January. Location tbc. If in the meantime you hear of any new illegal dumpsites near the waterline, or up washes or anything really, please get in touch!!!!

Thank you so much to everybody that came out!!!!! You guys rock!


Talk doesn't cook rice. - Chinese Proverb