Making this St-Patrick’s Day the greenest ever – shellfish growers and other groups will scour beaches for trash Thursday, March 17th.
For the past six years the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association (PCSGA) has conducted spring and fall beach clean-ups which have removed approximately 72 dump truck loads of debris from area beaches. The mountain of collected debris includes tires, Styrofoam, and a large assortment of public trash.
The targeted clean-up areas will be Henderson, Budd, Eld, Totten, Skookum, Hammersley, Carr and Case Inlets, Oakland Bay, Squaxin and Harstine Islands and parts of Hood Canal. The clean-ups typically involve around a hundred people from about 14 shellfish farms throughout South Sound as well as representatives from the Squaxin, Skokomish, and Nisqually Tribes, Pacific Shellfish Institute and the Washington State Department of Natural Resources. This week shellfish growers will also be joined by members of Surf Riders Foundation and Standup Paddlers Cleanup.
Shellfish growers and the tribes provide vessels and fuel. Shellfish companies take turns providing lunch for volunteers. Typically, there are twenty plus boats and crews deployed and approximately 100 miles of beach cleaned up.
In the past 12 clean ups, over 1,000 tires have been removed from beaches. “It is amazing,” said Linda Lentz of Chelsea Farms and a member of the Board of the Griffin Neighborhood Association. Lentz spearheads the clean-up effort for PCSGA. “I don’t know where they keep coming from but we average 80 tires per clean-up”.
All of the garbage is brought into common landing sites. One is at the Arcadia boat ramp and a second landing site is at National Oyster Company. Once on shore, the aquaculture debris is separated from the general debris, categorized and counted. PCSGA uses the information to identify the source of any aquaculture debris and work with responsible growers to prevent future releases of the materials from their farms.
Contact PCSGA at 360-754-2744 if you would like more information about this event, if you know of an area that needs attention, or if you don’t want people accessing your beach. Throughout the year, you can also contact PCSGA’s marine debris hotline at 1-800-964-6532.