A slap in everyone’s face
Anyone that knows anything about me will tell you how much I love the new City of Winters Nature Park. I love everything about it and I love taking care of it. It’s like taking care of God. I’m not the only one that loves it, the whole city loves it. An ever-increasing number of families stroll through the park taking in nature and enjoying the freshness of it. The cool clear water of the Putah Creek is some of the cleanest water in the country.
Every day I watch the mothers and the fathers with their children, large and small, strolling through the park. Their children are into everything, exploring this and that, looking for treasures. I see the delight on their faces when by chance they find a turtle, a fish or a small bird. When they spot a beaver or an otter they scream with joy because it’s life at its maximum. Our nature park is getting better every single day.
Sometimes I sit in the park for a while just to see what will happen next. There’s always something happening. There’s a lovely pair of hawks that live in the park and they swirl around the air making love signals between themselves. You will hear them before you see them. They are absolutely beautiful.
The creek water is so clear that nothing can hide from your view. The beaver swim around chewing on this tree or that and then they drag the limbs into the water and swim away with them. When they’re done, they come back and do it again. I love watching them and they know me so well that they don’t mind that I’m sitting there watching them. I keep expecting them to invite me to lunch.
There are otters that swim around on their backs playing with whatever they have in their tiny hands. I call them hands because they are every bit as nimble as our human hands. They swim up the creek and then back down again, they give you the eye as they pass where you sit. It’s almost like they are thinking, “Hey, this is my park, what are you doing here?”
Every once in awhile. you’ll see a fox. You have to look quick because they are movers and shakers. They’re here and then they’re gone. They disappear into the brush that is now as native to this area as it will ever be. Thanks to the creek restoration projects of the Solano County Water Agency and the Putah Creek Council, Putah Creek looks pretty much like it did 200 years ago before man stepped in and altered the plants and the channel of the creek.
Thousands upon thousands of plants and trees have been planted by local volunteers. It’s a joy for me to watch them in action. Even small children help by digging holes and placing each little plant where its new home will be. They give the new plants water and a touch of fertilizer, and then they sit back like me and watch them grow. Every day, more and more people are doing this. I love it.
While most people enjoy the park, there are others who go there just to slap all of us in the face. It’s not only us they slap in the face, it’s all of nature and everything else. There are those who are guilty of environmental terrorism. They do what they do out of hate for nature, us and themselves. The people I’m talking about are putting poison in the water, the soil, the birds, the fish, and all of the little animals that live there. In the long run, they will poison us as well.
Last Sunday, I spent the morning on my hands and knees picking up a thousand shards of glass coated with mercury. Mercury that will sink into the soil poisoning all that touches it. Mercury that will be washed by today’s rain into the clean water of the creek where the fish will ingest it, poisoning them and their offspring. Mercury is a poison that enters the body of anything that it touches and it will never come out, ever. It will kill everything it touches.
I don’t know who did it, but I hope someone does and reports it. Oh it was probably great fun for those that did it, they probably laughed while the shattered every four-foot florescent light bulb they could carry into a thousand toxic shards. Those who did this not only slapped nature in the face, they broke the law of the land. They broke not only the State of California law, but federal laws as well. There’s no crime that’s worse than environmental crime, for it affects us all. I can only hope that someone will come forward with the information that will send these people where they belong: jail.
Surely there are those who will claim that I’m overreacting, but consider the fact that in the year 2,000 over 370 pounds of mercury was dumped in California waterways. The broken glass of a florescent bulb is usually considered a greater hazard than the small amount of spilled Mercury. A child can step on a shard and the Mercury is inside his or her body, so that’s not overreacting.
Fluorescent tubes and bulbs may be managed as universal wastes under Title 22, Chapter 23 of the California Code of Regulations. It’s against the law to crush them against a tree under Title 22, division 4.5, chapter 11, section 66261.50. I don’t know about you. but I would report this sort of crime without a thought. If you don’t, then you’re as bad as those who threw them there for you to step in.
It’s estimated that nearly 75 million waste fluorescent lamps and tubes are generated annually in California. These lamps and tubes contain more than a half a ton of mercury. The mercury in urban storm water sediment results in part from improperly discarded fluorescent lamps and tubes.
Now with all of that said, I can only hope that someone saw them breaking the bulbs in the park. I know that someone out there knows who did it. Get with it and call the Winters Police Department and give them the information they need to put a stop to environmental terrorism. Mercury is no joke.