Hundreds of old tires found along Russian River in Mendocino County

HOPLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Hundreds of old tires dumped in southern Mendocino County, and in the most sensitive of environments.

The Russian River flows peacefully just south of Squaw Rock in Mendocino County. Traffic does, too. Most drivers heed the signs warning against littering and dumping.

But, not all, apparently.

"It's just a shock," said Chris Brokate.

"It's trash. It's filth," added Chris Ostrom.

Both are active stewards of the local environment, and they are disgusted to have discovered hundreds of used tires dumped in the last month in multiple areas. Along the Russian River, they're stacked like tombstones in some cases.

"The Russian River watershed is our main source for drinking," said Chris, who works at the Clean River Alliance. "It's a wildlife corridor. The last salmon that exist around here are in this river."

The mystery-- who put them here?

"It's become habitual," surmised Ostrom. "Having worked in a tire shop I know each has a serial number tied to a warranty. It is easy to know where they came from and then in-turn find out who they paid to haul these tires."

The Mendocino County Sheriff's office has opened an investigation, but will not comment beyond that. Meantime, Chris Ostrom has not been able to idly by, especially when cleaning up such messes is part of his nature.

Chris and his PacOut Green Team have already hauled some 200 tires from another location. With so many more, "Every time one of these shredded tires wander down river, people, fish will cut themselves. The belts are very sharp."

Just downstream, Miguel Elliott knows the risk all-too-well. He avoided a couple of tires while swimming this afternoon.

"It is thoughtless, careless, disrespectful."

For the near future, it remains a visual blight in what should be paradise.
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