Watershed Protection Alliance

what we do

The Foothill Conservancy has formed the Watershed Protection Alliance to study and address the effects of waste that is generated from homeless encampments along waterways in Amador and Calaveras County

Homeless populations are often counted using a method called point-in-time (PIT) counts, conducted in January. The 2019 PIT count recorded 186 individuals in Calaveras County and 214 in Amador County. These counts are often regarded as inaccurate because the time of year they are conducted and because many individuals do not want to be counted. What is clear is that homelessness is on the rise and is projected to increase because of the dramatic spike in unemployment that resulted from Covid.

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The Team has developed a list of core areas where there are homeless encampments and has began initial outreach. During these events we will be engaging, and enlisting the homeless, when possible.
Trash Removal
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One of the first steps is to remove the accumulations of waste at encampments along streams. We will provide trash bags, gloves, and other supplies to the homeless at a regular interval and develop a coordinated plan to pick up and dispose of waste.
Build relationships
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The Foothill Conservancy hopes to build relationships and trust with the homeless population so we can have healthier communities and cleaner water.

Many of the homeless populations are centered under bridges that span waterways within the counties. These locations provide the best shelter from wind, rain, and sun and the proximity to water also can provide a source of drinking and bathing water. The Foothill Conservancy is concerned about the impacts of human and material waste, particularly on water quality and watershed health but also want to ensure that all have access to clean drinking water. Trash often builds up at many of the homeless encampments because the folks do not have access to disposal facilities or are disabled, making it very difficult to remove what was brought down. A major water quality concern wherever homeless populations congregate is human waste entering the waterways. The Foothill Conservancy recently started the Watershed Protection Alliance with a focus on mapping homeless encampments, engaging and educating unsheltered individuals and providing resources to those in need. 

Interested in joining the alliance?

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Larry Patterson, Director, Camanche Village, CA:  MS Civil/Transportation Engineering UC Berkeley, BS Civil Engineering University of Texas, private consultant, former Public Works Director and City Manager of San Mateo, recipient of the League’s James L. Martin Award in 2012