A river flows through the neighborhoods of Stockton in central California — although in places it looks to be no more than an irrigation ditch. Yet it remains a vitally important waterway for residents, wildlife and farmers alike.
The Lower Calaveras River, or translated to English, the River of Skulls, is fed by primarily by rainfall, but provides habitat for Chinook salmon and threatened steelhead.
Over the years, however, citizens who lived along the river’s banks have watched its condition deteriorate as litter and other pollutants gradually fouled the water. The Lower Calaveras had started to look more like the river of death.
But between 2007 and 2008, that began to change. Concerned citizens and Defenders band together to help revive the river, forming a dedicated group of river keepers known as the Friends of the Lower Calaveras River (FLCR ). Since then, FLCR has grown to more than 550 members and is supported by 11 local agencies and organizations.