2019 Recap

December 27, 2019

What a year it’s been for CoastSavers! In 2019 alone, our volunteers removed 50,000 pounds of trash from the Washington’s Coast and Salish Sea. On behalf of the Washington Clean Coast Alliance, thank you to all of our volunteers for helping make a positive difference for our planet. Although there are numerous moments from 2019 worth highlighting, here are a few of our favorites.

Washington Coast Cleanup Results

The 2019 Washington Coast Cleanup on April 20th engaged 1,030+ volunteers who removed more than twenty tons of trash from at least sixty beaches on the outer coast and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Lee Taylor, Acting Superintendent of Olympic National Park believes in the dedication of our volunteers. “Olympic National Park protects over 70 miles of wild Pacific coast and the only way we can keep these remote and beautiful beaches clean is with the help of volunteers and our partners at Washington CoastSavers.”

Every winter, intense storms frequent the Washington coast with heavy rainfall and winds blowing up the coast from the south. These winds drive marine debris from out in the ocean onto the beach, negatively impacting the health of vital marine ecosystems. Washington CoastSavers works with thousands of volunteers and a robust alliance of partners to remove thousands of pounds of debris from Washington beaches every spring and fall during two large annual cleanups, and other smaller cleanups throughout the year.

The recent spring cleanup effort discernibly reduced the amount of marine debris on the coastline and helped protect the coastal habitat for animals that use the beach and near-shore environment. Additionally, the cleanup provided the opportunity for individuals to be active stewards of their public beaches, restoring the beauty of these special places. Some of our loyal volunteers have told me they have been cleaning the beaches for over thirty years.

Dr. Nancy Messmer, Pacific Northwest Environment Chair for Lions Clubs International and founding member of the Washington Clean Coast Alliance/CoastSavers is moved by the devotion of our volunteers. “Beach cleanup volunteers inspire me! Each year, I am in awe of the enormous effort many people make to get to the coasts of Washington State, comb the beaches for marine debris, and tote loads of net, rope, floats and all manner of plastics to safe recycling and or disposal sites. Good organizing, great good-spirited volunteerism, and follow-up changes in personal practices will lead us to a healthy ocean and healthy lives.”

Volunteers hauled away an estimated 30,000 lbs. of plastic water bottles, household trash, lost fishing gear, and other types of washed up debris that kill or poison our coastal wildlife and spoil the natural beauty of our shorelines. The approximate value of the volunteer effort totaled nearly $100,000!

International Coastal Cleanup Results

Once again, the citizens of Washington State showed their appreciation for the coastline of their state by coming out to pick up marine debris. Over 800+ dedicated volunteers from around the Pacific Northwest celebrated Ocean Conservancy’s 34th annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) on 9/21/19.

Volunteers hauled away an estimated 12,000 lbs. of plastic water bottles, household trash, lost fishing gear, and other types of washed up debris that kill or poison our coastal wildlife and spoil the natural beauty of our shorelines. The approximate value of the volunteer effort totaled nearly $75,000!

The International Coastal Cleanup is sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy. CoastSavers is a vibrant partnership of multiple citizens groups, nonprofits, corporations, and public agencies who serve as the regional coordinators for the ICC. To learn more and get involved, visit our ICC page here.

Seattle Summer Cleanups

On June 8, CoastSavers coordinated and helped run the World Oceans Day cleanup at Alki Beach in Seattle. Over 110 volunteers cleaned the beach. Thanks to their hard work, 300+ lbs. of marine debris was collected, including Styrofoam, cigarette butts, jeans, and ropes. Alaskan Brewing sponsored the event, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, CoastSavers, and Washington State Ferries were co-sponsors, and Alki Beach Pub hosted the after party.

CoastSavers partnered in its first of many future collaborations with United by Blue at Myrtle Edwards Park this past July. For every product purchased, United by Blue pledges to remove one pound of trash from America’s oceans and waterways. According to their website, all of their products are made in GOTS-certified factories from sustainably-sourced materials. Their cleanup crew travels nationwide picking up debris and reached out to us to partner for a special event in Seattle. Over 170 volunteers helped us remove 600+ lbs. of debris along the Elliot Bay coastline.

New Adopt a Beach Program Launches

Our new Adopt A Beach Program officially launched this summer. Our first group to adopt a beach, the Olympic Peninsula Paddlers, consist of a group of 20-30 volunteers who regularly clean shorelines along the Strait  of Juan de Fuca. Their first cleanup of the year happened at Freshwater Bay in April, while their other two efforts took place at Marlyn Nelson County Park during the autumn.

In partnership with Clallam County Parks, CoastSavers is looking for small groups or families to agree to clean “their” beach during the Washington Coast Cleanup, the International Coastal Cleanup, and at least one other time throughout the year. We are hoping to expand this program outside Clallam County once more funding is secured.

Pride in the Ocean Campaign

During the month of June, the National Marine Sanctuary System celebrated Ocean Month and LGBT Pride Month through our #PrideInTheOcean campaign in partnership with Pride Outside. The world’s ocean is for everyone, and this campaign helps break down important barriers in the conservation community. James submitted a photo and caption for the campaign and promoted it on all social channels for CoastSavers and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

We are looking forward to working with our strong network of partners and volunteers in the new year!