SAN DIEGO -- An effort to clean up the San Diego River, which has been fouled over the years by tons of waste and debris, was announced by city officials Wednesday.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer said he ordered crews to conduct riverbed cleanup activities twice a week in certain trouble spots, including Grantville and the area around SDCCU Stadium. In four days of the debris removal program, 10 tons has been taken away.
"This aggressive cleanup is all about restoring one of San Diego's most beloved natural resources," Faulconer said.
"We need to take this action to remove significant trash and other debris that has accumulated along the San Diego River," he said. "This will be a prolonged and sustained effort to return the riverbed to pristine condition and make sure we keep it that way for many years to come."
City crews focused Wednesday on the area under the Friars Road overpass in Grantville, which they said is a problematic area because it's been home to several homeless encampments and is difficult to access.
"The San Diego River was my playground as a child," said Councilman Scott Sherman, who represents the area.
"The sensitive ecosystem helped me develop a strong love for the outdoors that I still cherish today," he said. "This massive and ongoing cleanup will help restore the river to a precious natural resource that I remember from my youth."
Other areas that will be the focus of cleanup efforts include portions of the river near Qualcomm Way, Fashion Valley, Mission Bay Park and Dog Beach in Ocean Beach.
City crews hope to reach 78 spots along the river, some of which are on private property, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays over the next few months. City officials said they planned to coordinate with the property owners.
They're also working with the nonprofit San Diego River Park Foundation.