It’s time once again to gather both locals and visitors and partner with the Mendocino Land Trust for Coastal Cleanup Day on September 17 from 9:00 a.m. to noon here in Fort Bragg. No matter what your age, we encourage you to volunteer. You’ll gather with like-minded people, have fun, do a good deed, and help keep our Fort Bragg coastline beautiful. It’s the perfect opportunity to teach kids the importance of community service and how to keep our beaches clean and pristine. Volunteers are asked to bring a bucket and work gloves to pick up trash – that way we’ll limit the number of plastic trash bags and gloves used for cleanup day. After all, the goal is to reduce the use of plastic, which gathers in our oceans, creating a hazard for all ocean life. Volunteers who arrive without a bucket or gloves will be issued plastic bags and gloves.
Locally, the Noyo Center for Marine Life is organizing a larger beach clean-up program, so that volunteers can survey our beaches on a monthly basis. The center has also started a monthly First Saturday group walk at Noyo Harbor Beach at 9:00 a.m. Anyone is welcome to join, so give them a call at 707-733-6696 and get involved! Below is a list of participating local Fort Bragg beaches. Drop-ins are welcome so if you’re here on the coast (or planning to be), pick your favorite beach, roll up your sleeves, and make a difference!
- Hare Creek Beach (Fort Bragg) – Betty Steckmyer and the Hospitality House. Meet at College of the Redwoods parking lot at 9:00 am.
- Noyo Harbor Beach (Fort Bragg)
- Noyo River Kayak Cleanup (Fort Bragg) – Liquid Fusion Kayaking. Clean Noyo River via kayak or canoe. Volunteers may bring their own vessel, or rent a kayak. Please pre-register with Liquid Fusion at 707-962-1623.
- Pudding Creek Beach (Fort Bragg) – Fort Bragg Middle School, Richard Becker. NO additional volunteers needed at this location.
- Virgin Creek Beach (Fort Bragg) – North Coast Brewing Company
- MacKerricher (Fort Bragg) – Soroptimist Cleanup begins at 9:00 am. We will be meeting in the Laguna Point Parking lot, which is accessible by turning west off of Hwy 1 onto Mill Creek Drive and following the road to where it ends at the parking lot.
- Ward Avenue Beach (Fort Bragg) – Surfriders, Walt and Jackie Dooley. Meets at the parking lot at the north end of the section of Ward Avenue that runs parallel to the beach.
- Ten Mile Bridge South (North of Fort Bragg) – Audubon, Art Morley. Meets at the south end of Ten Mile Bridge.
- Seaside Beach (North of Fort Bragg) – Nicolet Houtz of the Mendocino Land Trust
Plastic, Plastic, and More Plastic on our Beaches
What are the most common items picked up on the beach? Plastic, plastic, and more plastic—it’s estimated that more than 8 million metric tons of plastic trash enters the sea from land every year, and although it is illegal to dump trash into the sea, it’s difficult to monitor boaters and cargo ships. A sea turtle who spots a floating plastic bag might think it’s a jellyfish, and sea birds might spy plastic pellets and think they look like fish eggs! Plastic degrades very slowly – it can stick around for more than 400 years, so keep that in mind before discarding anything plastic! The statistics are sobering—more than a million seabirds, 300,000 dolphins and porpoises, and 100,000 large sea mammals perish each year. Plastic bags, beverage bottles, food wrappers, cups, plates, cutlery, straws, stirrers, caps, and lids are on the top ten list published by the Ocean Conservancy. Other culprits on the top 10 list include cigarettes and cigarette butts, paper bags and food wrappers, beverage cans and bottles—all items left by careless beach goers.
The sea seems vast, but it is a delicate ecosystem
We can do our part by creating awareness in our communities, writing to our legislators and asking for policies that address ocean trash, avoiding disposable plastic bottles and packaging, carrying along reusable coffee mugs, picnic supplies, and shopping bags, buying items that use less packaging or eco-friendly packaging, contacting companies to encourage them to use ocean-friendly packaging, and being good citizens by helping on Coastal Clean-up Day!