Shellfish growers, DNR, and other partners pitch in to clean up South Sound beaches


DNR Aquatics Program crew at PCSGA beach clean up
Staff from DNR's Aquatics Resources Shellfish Program with a boatload of garbage hauled on the March 8 beach clean up. Photo: Brad Pruitt/DNR

Shellfish growers are accustomed to spending long days (and nights) outdoors in any kind of weather, all year-round. So it was a bonus that the 15th biannual cleanup of South Sound beaches on March 8 took place under sunny skies and spring-like weather.

A group of 60 participated in the cleanup, most of whom were shellfish growers, along with members of the Nisqually and Squaxin tribes, state employees, the Pacific Shellfish Institute, and conservation organizations.

The Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association (PCSGA) organizes this twice-yearly event—each spring and fall—with funding support from the annual SLURP event.

For the past two years, staff from DNR’s Aquatics Resources Shellfish Program have helped with garbage patrol. The program also provided one of the 15 boats that were on hand to haul away garbage.

Garbage collected during the cleanup was hauled to dumpsters at two South Sound locations—Arcadia Point boat ramp in Shelton and the ramp at National Oyster Company in Olympia.  PCSGA provided the dumpsters and paid for hauling the garbage to the landfill.

Cleanup crews sorted the garbage, separating out debris from aquaculture to weigh, record, and categorize. Data collected on how much and what type of debris comes from aquaculture helps PCSGA work with growers to prevent garbage from their operations entering the water and littering beaches.

Many thanks to all the hard workers who helped clean up South Sound beaches. Thanks, also, to the waterfront residents with private tidelands who supported the effort by providing access to the cleanup crews.

News coverage of the beach cleanup:

• The Olympian: Sunny skies greet 15 South Sound cleanup boats
• KING 5: Everything including the kitchen sink pulled from shellfish beds (Video)

If you see debris from aquaculture on beaches and in the water, please call the PCSGA’s Washington Shellfish Aquaculture Debris Hotline at 1-800-964-6532.

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