Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of working with the fine folks with the Washington branch of CoastSavers. Back in 2013, I helped with the clean-up efforts on one of the outer beaches south of Cape Flattery. Oh my gosh, has it really been that long? So when I recently received a request to help document the debris found on our section of COASST beach with the Olympic National Park I was more than happy to jump back on board.
Washington CoastSavers are people actively engaged in saving Washington’s Pacific Coast from the harm of marine debris. Over the years they’ve morphed from individual organizations to one large overseeing organization with a variety of committees driving the main mission which is simply providing stewardship over the health of our beach.
You can read more about the history of CoastSavers here. If you think you’d like to know more about the various cleanups and their schedules you can find that information here and then finally, information on how to volunteer for CoastSavers is here.
Our volunteers collected water quality data from 128 Wild and Scenic Rivers, enabling federal and state agencies to improve accountability and inform river policy, protection, and management decisions.
Our Timber Tracking volunteers collected samples from 787 locations (and counting!) across the range of eastern black walnut, enabling the US Forest Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service to combat illegal logging.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration incorporated our microplastics data into their global marine microplastics dataset.
This particular mission started when I received an email asking if I would take photographs as well as fill out a debris tracking form for inclusion with a report that was being prepared for submission to the official of the Olympic National Park.
The time here was almost spooky as I had just had a long conversation with a retired park official with whom I had crossed paths while conducting our survey the previous months. Our conversation had started out with an introduction but apparently, Bob recognized us from a previous encounter; we’ve been surveying this beach every month for the last 3 years and are often approached by people who are curious to know what we are up to. You don’t see many people here on the outer coast to begin with, much less pacing of sections of the beach with clipboard and clicker in hand.
Our conversation quickly turned to the changes and state of the beach. The biggest point of contention was that someone or someones had collected all the dispersed debris in the area and created a huge trash pile just off the beach. I’m sure they thought they were being good samaritans but without someone to remove the debris they really just created an eye-sore.
I’m not sure of the good vs. bad points merits of this collection effort but had to agree with Bob in that by creating the pike but leaving it you did have an eyes-sore. Hopefully, our documentation and the CoastSavers report will get the NPS motivated to remove it. If so we’ve already volunteered to be part of the team. Here’s keeping our fingers crossed!