Washington Coast Cleanup A Success
This year’s Washington Coast Cleanup was held on Saturday, April 29th. Over 1,300 volunteers helped to remove more than 20 tons of trash from sixty beaches on the outer coast and into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. We want to thank our volunteers for taking the time and making the effort to participate in the event. We know how challenging it can be. We couldn’t have done it without you! From the estimated 250 volunteers who cleaned the sandy beaches of the Long Beach Peninsula with the Grassroots Garbage Gang to the 128 volunteers who picked up trash from the parks around Port Townsend and everyone and every beach in-between.
A special thanks goes out to our partners who provided BBQ’s and other thank you gifts for our volunteers. Your contribution is so welcomed after a long morning of picking up plastics out of driftwood and grass in the rain, against the wind. A warm meal and good people to share it with makes a huge difference. Thanks to the following partners: Port Townsend Food Coop, Chito Beach Resort, Lions Club from Seiku-Clallam Bay, Surfrider Foundation: Olympic Peninsula Chapter, Surfrider Foundation: South Sound Chapter, Surfrider Foundation: Capitol Chapter, Surfrider Foundation: Seattle Chapter, Washington State Park Ranger Association, Grays Harbor Fire District #7, and Copalis Beach Food Bank, the Lost Resort and DNC Parks & Resorts at Kalaloch Lodge.
We couldn’t do what we do without the financial support from the North Pacific Coast Marine Resources Committee, Grays Harbor Marine Resources Committee, Pacific County Marine Resources Committee and Alaskan Brewing Company with it’s Coastal CODE program.
New and Old Partners
We are happy to work with Alaskan Brewing Company who support our efforts through its Coastal Code grant program. This is the second year that the Alaskan Brewing Company has donated funds for the coordination and implementation of the Washington Coast Cleanup. You can look forward to future outreach events this summer in the Seattle area!
Another recent partner is the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association (PCSGA). This organization is composed of shellfish farmers from up and down the West Coast. In Washington, the PCSGA sponsored the dumpster rental and disposal costs for all the dumpsters on the south coast during the 2016 International Coastal Cleanup. Becky Mabardy, Outreach and Projects Coordinator for PCSGA has recently been added to Washington CoastSavers’ Steering Committee. We look forward to developing this partnership more in the future.
New this year is a beach plastic recycling partnership with TerraCycle. TerraCycle is an innovative recycling company that has become a global leader in recycling hard-to-recycle waste. We collected hard plastics from the beach at two locations during the Washington Coast Cleanup, those around Westport/Grayland and beaches near Clallam Bay. We are excited about the potential to reduce the amount of waste that goes to the landfill by recycling more beach plastics than ever before. Stay tuned to learn how this pilot project went and whether we increase our recycling efforts in the future, it’s definitely been a goal for many CoastSavers for many years.
CoastSaver of the Year
It takes hundreds of caring and dedicated volunteers to keep the state’s outer coastal beaches clean and beautiful. Washington CoastSavers has been organizing coast-wide beach cleanups from the Columbia River into the Strait of Juan de Fuca since 2007. It’s always a massive undertaking, utilizing staff from Washington State Parks, the Olympic National Park and other agencies and organizations. This last April, over 1,400 volunteers participated in the Washington Coast Cleanup removing more than twenty tons of debris from dozens of beaches. This wouldn’t have been possible without the participation of people coming from as far away as Seattle to pitch in. It’s unlikely that any of this would happen without the leadership of a few individuals, especially 2016’s Washington CoastSaver of the Year, Liam Antrim.
Antrim, who lives in Sequim, is currently the Resource Protection Specialist at Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. He has been involved with beach cleanups since the first Washington Coast Cleanup in 2000. In early years, Antrim staffed volunteer registration stations at Kalaloch, Three Rivers, Hoh River and Neah Bay, and he organized the first International Coastal Cleanup efforts on the northern Olympic Coast from the Ozette station in 2012. Antrim oversaw coordination meetings that led to the formation of the Washington Clean Coast Alliance and its CoastSavers program in 2007. He has remained in a leadership role with the Alliance, serving on its Steering and Executive Committees. Roy Morris, another founding member of CoastSavers and representative of the Lions Club International nominated Liam and said, “He (Liam) deserves this award more than anyone I can imagine.”
2016 was a great year for the beaches of the Washington coast. We rely on the support of hundreds of volunteers to help keep our state’s beaches free of marine debris. Here are the totals from 2016’s cleanups:
Washington Coast Cleanup: 1,400 volunteers removed over 20 tons.
International Coastal Cleanup: at least 300 volunteers removed 6 tons.
Total Volunteers in 2016: 1,700
Total Weight of Debris Collected: 26 tons!
WHAT IS MARINE DEBRIS & WHAT CAN I DO ABOUT IT?
Marine debris is trash that somehow ends up in the ocean. Recognize this plastic water bottle? It could be the one you threw away several months ago – not at the beach, but at your home! It just blew out of your garbage, landed in a nearby waterway, and floated out to the coast. Now it’s degrading and poisoning our coastal wildlife and releasing its toxins into the food chain.
Or maybe a commercial fishing boat lost some gear in one of our notorious winter storms. Now it’s floating around out there, damaging our coastal fisheries, and pointlessly killing everything that gets caught.