Washington CoastSavers are people actively engaged in saving Washington's Pacific Coast from the harmful effects of marine debris. With its roots in the first Olympic Coast Cleanup in 2000, this grassroots effort will be returning to Washington’s coastal and strait beaches on April 19 – in conjunction with Earth Day with the goal of picking up and removing marine debris.
Governor Inslee has declared April 19th as Washington Coast Cleanup Day recognizing that, “Washington’s Pacific Coast is threatened by tons of household plastics, lost fishing gear, and other man made debris polluting the world’s oceans and washing up on our beaches.”
Beaches to be cleaned include multiple Washington State Parks, miles of wilderness coast within the Olympic National Park and Indian Reservations, including some not typically open to the public.
“With over 70 miles of wild Pacific Coast, responding to the daily arrival of marine debris along our remote shoreline is not something we are able accomplish alone,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum. “We are grateful for the partnerships that make this clean-up possible and for the thousands of volunteers who dedicate their valuable free time to care for and protect our coast. We would not be able to preserve the park’s incredible resources without them.”
Volunteers are invited to lend a hand at 40 beaches all along Washington's Pacific Coast, from Neah Bay to the Columbia River. In addition, this year; volunteers are needed to clean beaches along the Strait of Juan de Fuca within Clallam County. These Clallam County Park beaches are little known treasures that need annual attention from beach cleaners. Volunteers can help with a range of tasks, from gathering debris and carrying back to roadside dumpsters, or on the southern shores driving the beaches and picking up filled bags.
"As fears about the amount of Japanese tsunami marine debris washing up on our shores have diminished, we still have a significant and ongoing concern with the "other" marine debris. It will be an issue we deal with for many years. Individuals can make a big difference by volunteering for this or other coastal cleanups", said Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent Carol Bernthal.
Support for this year’s Washington Coast Cleanup came from the Grays Harbor and North Pacific County Marine Resource Committees and NOAA’s Marine Debris Program. Puget Sound Partnership supported Washington CoastSavers expansion into the Strait of Juan de Fuca with grant assistance. Without the help from this diverse group of partners, the cleanup would not be possible.
Washington State Parks has supported the cleanup efforts for many years. "This is really an exciting event every year, because it brings so many people out to help clean up our ocean beaches," said Don Hoch, State Parks director. "We have one of the most beautiful stretches of ocean beach in the country, and we are grateful to those who come out and join the fun of working together to care for it."
Washington CoastSavers is a broad spectrum of participating nonprofits, community groups, corporations, and public agencies. Washington CoastSavers is also more than 1,000 volunteers who come to the Washington coast to cooperatively remove tons of trash from the beach. To sign up for their favorite beach, volunteers should visit the Washington CoastSavers website.
April 10, 2014