By Juliana Gonzalez
On the morning of September 25, 2010, Richmond High School student Pablo Rodriguez will don his gloves and get his bucket ready to clean up the East Bay shoreline. So too will students in Mexico, The Netherlands, and more than 90 other countries around the world, cleaning up their local shorelines.
This unified effort is inspirational in the face of a growing amount of trash accumulating in our oceans, running through our rivers and fouling our shorelines. During the International Coastal Cleanup Day, the entire planet pitches in to reduce marine debris while making an inventory of the different types of trash that are reaching our waterways and shorelines.
Pablo Rodriguez knows that most of the trash he will be collecting comes from land sources, and that despite his efforts to educate neighbors and friends about the importance of reducing trash production, there is still a lot of littering in his community. He knows that rainwater will eventually carry trash out to the ocean.
However, Pablo is hopeful. He will be joining over one thousand people along the South Richmond Shoreline and he knows that there are many organizations like The Watershed Project that are working hard to educate the public about this problem and working with the community to create new ways to reduce marine debris. This is the largest volunteer and research event on the planet, and California leads the way in the number of participants.
Join The Watershed Project along the East Bay shoreline. We will be leading cleanup efforts from the Albany bulb to the Richmond Marina and the North Richmond Shoreline. The Watershed Project also supports the efforts of another 16 creek cleanups throughout Contra Costa County.
This year, The Watershed Project will be fighting marine debris on two fronts: from the land AND from the water. A kayak cleanup crew called the Flotsam Flotilla will pick up trash from the Bay. A press conference will be held at Shimada Friendship Park at 11 am to highlight the importance of reducing waste, especially plastic, as the kayakers come to shore. At the same location, the famous tall ship Kaisei will be joining The Watershed Project all the way from a research mission to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Kaisei means “Ocean Planet” in Japanese, and the iconic ship was one of the two research vessels in the August 2009 expedition that completed 22 days of intensive research, testing and collection in the North Pacific Ocean. Ship scientists will be on the shoreline showing volunteers real samples of the Pacific Gyre’s “plastic soup”.
Also, this year The Watershed Project is seeking ways to reduce the amount of debris created by the cleanup itself. The first step in this effort is the launching of a BYO (Bring Your Own) campaign designed to encourage volunteers to help decrease the ecological footprint of the cleanup. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own bucket or reusable bag, gloves, and reusable water bottle, so that they won’t have to use the disposable items that the site coordinator supplies.
Come out and join The Watershed Project’s staff for this fantastic event. Find a site near you and join the largest volunteer event on the planet! See locations below:
- Shimada Friendship Park, meet at the park located at the end of Marina Bay Parkway.
The inside scoop: Walk the Bay Trail and clean the salt marsh, which is habitat for the endangered clapper rail and highly impacted by trash, plus small beach areas suitable for children. Boots or shoes that can get dirty will be helpful. Free barbeque at noon for volunteers sponsored by Supervisor Gioia. Raffle tickets for donated prizes will be given for anyone completing a data card.
- Call to Kayakers: we are looking for 25 experienced kayakers to join the Flotsam Flotilla and help cleanup the shoreline from the water. We have kayaks for a handful of ‘yakers’ on a first come first served basis and we are looking for ten experienced kayakers to join us in their own boat. If you are interested, please contact us at .
- Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, meet at the parking lot at the end of Rydin Rd (off Central Ave)
The inside scoop: We’ll walk north on the Bay Trail and try to link up with volunteers coming from Shimada. Enjoy beautiful bay views; mostly easy terrain with marshes and a hidden beach. Raffle tickets for donated prizes will be given for anyone completing a data card.
- Albany Bulb, meet at the foot of Buchanan Street, next to the racetrack
Inside scoop: Bring sand sifters for the beach; great activity for kids. Active youth and adults can discover intriguing views and artwork on the Bulb. Raffle tickets for donated prizes will be given for anyone completing a data card.
- Los Medanos College, meet at the lake.
Inside scoop: Inland site, great for students interested in learning more about water quality issues around the college
- Breuner Marsh, meet at the end of Goodrick ave.
Inside scoop: This is a marshy site that and is one of the most recent acquisitions of East Bay Regional Parks. Boots or shoes that can get dirty will be helpful.
Wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen. Celebration for volunteers at all sites will follow the cleanup. Children must be accompanied by an adult. For further info email email@example.com. Please RSVP for groups of 10 or more.