Washington beach Cleanup As many as 1,300 volunteers are expected to take part in Saturday’s Washington Coast Cleanup. Work will take place on beaches from the Makah Indian Reservation to Cape Disappointment.
The cleanup effort, now in its 13th year, is coordinated by the Washington Coast Coalition, a group of government agencies and conservation organizations.
In the first 12 years, 10,729 volunteers have taken part in the event, helping to remove more than 320 tons of debris and trash from the state’s Pacific Ocean beaches. For comparison, that weight is the equivalent of 406 times the total weight of the Seattle Seahawks starting offensive line in 2012 or the equivalent of 31/2 of the U.S. Coast Guard’s 87-foot Marine Protector class of coastal patrol boats.
Some volunteers will hike into beaches on the remote Olympic National Park coastline, while others will gather at popular locations such as Long Beach, Ocean Shores and Pacific Beach.
Volunteers typically arrive early in the morning and work until about noon. A free lunch will be offered at several locations along the coast, including Kalaloch Campground in Olympic National Park, Griffiths-Priday State Park near Copalis Beach and Twin Harbors State Park south of Westport.
Again this year, it is possible volunteers might encounter debris that’s washed ashore as a result of the 2011 Japan tsunami. Most recently, a 20-foot fishing boat washed up on the Long Beach Peninsula.
State Fish and Wildlife Department biologists found five beakfish, native to Japan, living in a water-filled bait box on the boat that washed ashore March 22.
“We are expecting people to find tsunami debris. It has been coming ashore in pulses over the winter and it’s likely that volunteers will have a chance to remove lots of it,” said Jon Schmidt, CoastSavers coordinator.
The Marine Debris Task Force, a coalition of federal, state, local and tribal agencies, urges people who encounter potentially hazardous marine debris to call its toll-free reporting and information line, 855-922-6278.
The Washington Coast Cleanup is organized by a coalition of nonprofit groups, community groups, corporations and public agencies. Organizers include the Clallam Bay-Sekiu Lions Club, Discover Your Northwest, Grass Roots Garbage Gang, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, Olympic National Park, and the State Parks and Recreation.
“Last year there were over 1,300 volunteers who cleaned up about 30 tons of trash. I have no reason to think we won’t have as much support, if not more, this year,” Schmidt said. “These cleanups are becoming family and friend traditions that they look forward to every year.”
For more information, or to register, go to coastsavers.org.