Monday, October 25, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010 - Scusset Beach Cleanup

Beach Cleanup at Scusset Beach

This morning, NECWA and Captain John Whale Watching & Fishing Tours (CJB) sponsored a beach cleanup at Scusset Beach within the Scusset Beach State Reservation. NECWA staff member Dominica Webster and NECWA/CJB staff member Krill Carson coordinated this event on behalf of both organizations.

This cleanup effort is part of the state-wide program called COASTSWEEP ( Coastsweep is the Commonwealth’s annual coastal cleanup program, organized by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and the Urban Harbors Institute of the University of Massachusetts Boston. NECWA and Captain John Boats are proud to support Coastsweep through their involvement in this program for the past 5 years.

Sixteen volunteers meet at 9 am at Scusset Beach, a beautiful beach on the shores of Cape Cod Bay. Scusset Beach is located within the Scusset Beach State Reservation, a windswept area that also borders the Cape Cod Canal. Winds were light out of the southwest and the sun was shining through the clouds, making this a perfect morning for a cleanup effort.

One of our volunteers brought their dog Haley, who was absolutely beautiful and such a sweetheart. Haley was a wonderful friend as she helped to keep our spirits high as we walked the beach in search of trash and other forms of marine debris.

After signing in, folks grouped-up into teams of 2, 3 or 4 members and headed out to the beach in search of marine debris. Each team carried trash bags and clipboards with data sheets provided by Coastsweep. These data sheets were used to help each team meticulously count and categorize each piece of marine debris that collected. In the upcoming days, Dominica will organize this data and will send a summary of our efforts to the Coastsweep coordinators.

Volunteers scoured not only the lower, sandy areas of the beach, but also the upper beach region dominated by beach grass and other tough stemmed plants. This is an area that is often ignored during cleanup efforts for the trash is difficult to see among the plant leaves and stems. But this upper beach area traps a great deal of garbage including plastic bags, cups and rope and therefore, should not be overlooked during any cleanup effort.

This year, John from the DCR (Department of Conservation and Recreation) was able to assist us with our cleanup effort. John moved up and down the beach in the DEC 4 X 4 mini rover, picking up large pieces of debris or garbage bags from each team. This made everyone's job so much easier as large and heavy items were quickly removed from the beach area. A BIG thank you to John and all his help over the course of the morning.

We collected quite a few interesting items from Scusset Beach including a kite, a seine net and a large piece of metal that had very sharp edges. And we collected numerous cigarette filters, plastic bags and short pieces of rope.

Around 10:30 am, everyone started wrapping up their cleanup efforts out on the beach and headed back to the sign-in station. Krill, John and Tammy headed over to the dumpster to weigh and dispose the trash and debris items that had been collected that morning. We were all amazed to learn that we had collected close to 70 pounds of garbage from Scusset Beach!

At the end of the cleanup effort, cleanup participants were treated to a scrumptious lunch that included deli subs, drinks and chips. As everyone enjoyed lunch, Dominica gave away free prizes to thank everyone for their efforts that morning. These prizes included NECWA t-shirts and hats, Coastsweep t-shirts, stuffed toys and wildlife DVDs.

NECWA and Captain John Boats wants to thank all our volunteers for their time and effort. This cleanup effort was a huge success and a lot of fun. We thank everyone for volunteering their morning to address the issue of marine debris on our local beaches. This beach cleanup effort allowed us to reconnect with old friends and meet many new ones who share our love for the oceans and the unique coastal marine wildlife that live along our shores.

We will be back at Scusset Beach next fall for another Coastsweep cleanup. We hope you can join us in our efforts to keep our beaches and coastal waters free of plastics, metals, ghost fishing gear and other human-derived objects. Everyone can make a difference in our fight to protect our ocean environments. So join us and become part of the solution to the issues surrounding marine debris.