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State files water pollution complaint against San Jose for failing to clean up homeless encampments

We are pleased that Warden Lt. Byron Jones has moved this action forward. This is a great leap forward in cleaning up our rivers. You can read the full article below or follow the link here
We at the Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Group (SSRG) have been requesting Lt. Jones and State Department of Fish and Wildlife to look into the homeless issue and have been supporting him with photos and videos supplied by SSRG Founder, Roger Castillo. Here is a short video on the Homeless in our rivers. it is the 3rd of a series we soon well be posting more soon on our website at

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Trouble Viewing? Download MP4 Here

Recently I went on a survey along Thompson and Silver Creeks with Roger Castillo and Ian Wren, staff scientist from San Francisco Baykeeper. We were observing how flash flooding was unnaturally eroding away at river banks due to the recent rains runoff from adjacent housing and streets.

Along the way we came to a road overcrossing the river. Walking up to the bridge, we were greeted with private property signs. As we entered underneath we found what appeared to be at least two homeless encampments. Eerily there was no one present. Looking up at one of the niches on the sides of the overcrossing you could clearly see a dining area, a simply constructed bedroom made of wood and plastic sheets and a kitchen area with food and condiment racks. The adjacent side was not as well kept but had food items tucked away and a small barbecue. In the river between was posted another sign, “Raw Sewage Keep Clear!” in several languages.

Even the Homeless are aware of the pollution in our rivers, probably more so than the thousands of people that unknowing pass over them every day.


Hopefully now the City of San Jose will be forced to actually clean up our local rivers and help the homeless with basic assistance and social services they require.

Allowing them to live in such conditions is a sign that our city does not care about those in need. Leaving them tucked away and out of sight is merely a denial of each one. And there are thousands. It’s all part of a continued negligence to the rivers and creeks in our city by our city officials and the santa clara valley water district. They know they’re responsible, we’ve been telling them for years.

Thanks again to Lt. Byron Jones and State Department of Fish and Wildlife. We greatly appreciate your actions and are at your support whenever you need.

Don Bernard
Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Group Inc.

State files water pollution complaint against San Jose for failing to clean up homeless encampments

By Bruce Newman and Paul Rogers
Staff writers San Jose Mercury News
Posted: 03/20/2014 06:40:06 PM PDT
Excerpt from San Jose Mercury News Click here to view the full article
SAN JOSE — In a move that could cost San Jose thousands of dollars in fines and lead to punitive cleanup orders, state wildlife officials have filed an environmental complaint against the city, claiming it’s violating pollution laws for failing to adequately clean up homeless encampments along Coyote Creek, one of Silicon Valley’s most troubled waterways.

The action by the State Department of Fish and Wildlife not only escalates the homeless issue politically, it also means state water regulators will investigate whether trash, human waste and other refuse from homeless encampments — already a recognized public nuisance — causes ecological damage similar to a factory dumping chemicals into local water channels.

“Basically what it comes down to,” said Fish and Wildlife Lt. Byron Jones, who filed the complaint Wednesday with the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, “is they accept the encampments, they feel no sense of urgency to remove them, nor have they ever. It’s always been about the next cleanup. It’s never been about ending the practice of illegally camping and being in proximity to water.” more…

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