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Coastal Cleanup Day

Coastal Cleanup Day is Saturday September 15, 2018!

Celebrate 39 years of cleaning up our coast!

Official poster for the 2018 Coastal Cleanup Day, featuring art by local artist Matt Beard.
Official poster for the 2018 Coastal Cleanup Day, featuring art by local artist Matt Beard.


Sign up online today!

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The HSU Natural Resources Club on Coastal Cleanup Day 2017.
The HSU Natural Resources Club on Coastal Cleanup Day 2017.

You can do your part to staunch the flow of the estimated millions of tons of garbage in our oceans by participating in California’s Coastal Cleanup Day.

As longtime NEC supporters know, Coastal Cleanup Day had its humble beginnings right here in Humboldt County as a program of the NEC. Now international, the event is celebrated worldwide and is the single largest volunteer event in support of the marine environment.

With your help, over 1,000 Humboldt County Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers remove about seven tons of trash and recyclables from our beaches, rivers, bay and estuaries each year. Coupled with efforts throughout the state and around the world, Coastal Cleanup Day makes a quantitative difference in how much trash enters our ocean.

The Northcoast Environmental Center coordinates 60+ cleanups throughout Humboldt County—requiring an immense amount of staff time and community coordination. We are seeking site captains and volunteers, as well as financial sponsorships to cover coordination costs. Contact the NEC at 707-822-6918 for more information.

Many thanks to all our cleanup volunteers, and site captains—many of whom come back to help year after year!

Why We Need Coastal Cleanups

Infographic of top 10 items picked up on California Beaches on Coastal Cleanup Day 2017.Coastal cleanups are important for our beaches, rivers, estuaries and our local coastal environment. Human beings have continuously degraded those habitats for all life forms, including plants and animals with their wasteful, trashy ways.

Our North Coast coastline is one of California’s biggest assets, whether it be for recreation, production, water, or life; all of this depends on the health of our watersheds, beaches and coastal environment. It is predicted that by 2050 plastic and trash will outnumber fish in the ocean. If the public keeps polluting these ecosystems, it isn’t just humans that suffer the consequences, but the entire ecosystem. Wildlife frequently mistake debris as food and it has become an increasing trend to find marine life with stomachs full of plastic. Another common occurrence is to find animals entangled in derelict fishing gear or trash.

We need coastal cleanups not only to clean up our beaches and help our wildlife, but to show our representatives what type of trash and how much trash is washing up on our beaches. Knowing what and how much waste is washing up on our beaches helps us to get local ordinances and even legislation passed that can help reduce the amount of trash entering our oceans. We have been able to show our representatives and the manufactures that we do not want products that are damaging the environment in our day to day lives. We hope that with this wave of eco-consumerism we will be able to effect change to create a more environmentally conscious community.

The Northcoast Environmental Center got their start in beach cleanups with the Beach Beautification Project in 1979. Within the first nine days of the program over 2,300 pounds of debris were removed from Humboldt County beaches, and by the end of the first year over 34,000 pounds had been picked up along 110 miles of Humboldt coastline. The California Coastal Commission estimates that over 20 million pounds of trash have been picked up over the past 35 years statewide. We continue this tradition through our Adopt-A-Beach program, Coastal Cleanup Day and various other beach cleanups.

How To Get Involved:

Paintings by local artist Matt Beard were chosen to represent the 2018 Coastal Cleanup Day by the California Coastal Commission.

Be a site captain! Site captains are the main points of contact for the cleanup teams at each site and work with the NEC’s Cleanup Coordinator. It is their job to recruit teammates, pick up supplies from the NEC, ensure their teammates have completed our Liability Form, oversee the successful cleanup of their site and reporting cleanup data back to the NEC. There can be multiple coordinators/ teams per site, so if there is already a captain for the site you’re interested in, have no fear! Sign up and we will put you in contact with them!

Join a team! Be part of the group cleaning up your favorite beach. All you need to do is sign up, bring your completed Liability Form, show up and pick up! Don’t have a team to join? Come to the NEC Cleanup at Clam Beach.

Sponsor Coastal Cleanup! This is a fantastic way to support local cleanup efforts and publicize your business or organization as a friend to the ocean. The NEC has a number of sponsorship packages available and all include your logo on county-wide posters and recognition at a special Ocean Night event following Coastal Cleanup Day. Email coastalcleanup@yournec.org to find the support level right for you.

Spread the word! Pass information on to colleagues, friends, family, school teachers and civic minded groups. The more hands we have on deck, the more impact we can make!

Stand together to put a stop to trash! If a product can’t be reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.

Sign up online today!

>> Click here! <<

For more information, call us at 707-822-6918
or email coastalcleanup@yournec.org


Many thanks to our 2018 Coastal Cleanup Day Sponsors!

2018 Coastal Cleanup Day sponsors.



The Inspiration Behind CCD

Coastal Cleanup Day is a time honored tradition here on the North Coast. The Northcoast Environmental Center was looking for ways to cleanup our coast and in 1979 community member Joe Abbott conceived an idea that would later become the international cleanup we know today. He and his wife Ann Morrissey wrote a grant for what was called the Beach Beautification Project; a two year project targeting Humboldt County’s coastline to free it of marine debris and clean up our watershed. They approached the Northcoast Environmental Center, specifically Tim McKay and Sid Dominitz, to coordinate and sponsor the program. After grant funding ran out, the NEC partnered with Wes Chesbro and the Arcata Recycling Center to create a program for community members to “adopt” a local stretch of coastline. This became the Adopt-A-Beac

h program that the NEC continues to coordinate. In 1985, after hearing about the overwhelming community support up here in Humboldt, the Coastal Commission organized the first California Coastal Cleanup Day in an effort to keep our beaches free from plastics and other marine debris. One year later the Ocean Conservancy in tandem with the California Coastal Commission turned it into an international sensation.

Currently, the International Coastal Cleanup Day happens on the third Saturday of September every year. On this day hundreds of thousands of volunteers all over the world come together in an effort to keep our watersheds clean and beautiful for all to enjoy. Here on the North Coast hundreds of volunteers pick up over five tons of trash and recyclables off our beaches and out of our watersheds. We at the Northcoast Environmental Center take pride in the history of Coastal Cleanup Day. Please join us as we celebrate our 39th year of this wonderful hands-on event in 2018.


“97% of the earth’s water comes from our oceans. I believe that if lots of folks make a little effort to keep our oceans clean, we can make a difference. Cleaning our beaches gives us pleasure. I take our dog and grandsons to King Salmon. It’s a lovely small strand of the Pacific. When we go for our walks, we take our tongs and buckets. The kids are sooo proud of each piece of trash they find. It’s like a treasure hunt with benefits! And something very positive is, in the four years we’ve been combing King Salmon we have noticed a big drop in the amount of trash we pick up. Making a difference. ” – Jan Hawkes

“We’ve been cleaning the beach for over thirty years simply because it is so life affirming to care for the planet we live on!” – Carol Moné

Madison Peters, the NEC's Coastal Programs Coordinator, holds a plastic bottle cap found on a beach.
Madison Peters, the NEC’s Coastal Programs Coordinator, holds a plastic bottle cap found on a beach.

“I love the idea of participating in a united effort to care for our beaches and marine environment. Picking up trash is grubby work, but it’s important work, because there is so much trash (especially plastics and fishing gear) that is polluting our beaches and oceans and harming marine life. I’m thankful for organizations like NC that have stepped up to the plate to help organize this terrific event. I just wish everyday could be Coastal Clean-up Day!” – Kim Tays

“While not the solution to the problem, beach clean ups are something that the individual can do where they can make a difference and see positive results. When I first started with the NEC plastic bags hadn’t been banned yet and I would go out and find them everywhere on the beach, now we are finding them less and less! This goes to show that legislation and consumers demanding change from manufacturers can make the change happen. Our efforts cleaning up the beach help us show our representatives what and how much trash is showing up on our beaches so that we can make those changes.” – Madison Peters NEC Coastal Programs Coordinator

CCD 5-Year Map 2013-2017