Del Norte Coastal Cleanup Recovers Over 2 Tons of Trash

(from our friends at the Smith River Alliance)

Fall Coastal Cleanup recovers over 2 tons of trash

December Smith River NRA Cleanup recovers 900 lbs.


The Smith River Alliance (SRA) reported that the Del Norte Coastal Cleanup team overcame multiple challenges to organize a successful effort October 17 — with nearly fifty volunteers participating and over two tons of trash recovered. 

Smith River kayakers helped clean up multiple river access locations and also retrieved trash snagged in streamside vegetation following high flows. Photo by by Grant Werschkull

With coronavirus concerns and nearby wildfires causing evacuations and hazardous breathing conditions, organizers and project partners chose to reschedule what is normally a September event. Dates were pushed back, air quality monitored and a series of precautions adopted to assure participant safety. The outcome was another successful Coastal Cleanup.

“It was really heartening to see our Del Norte community turnout to maintain the health and beauty of our coastal areas in spite of this year’s challenges” said Grant Werschkull, Co-Executive Director for SRA.

Pete Craig and a crew of volunteers with one of multiple trailers of trash recovered from CA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife coastal wetland areas. Photo by Grant Werschkull.

Participants included members of the Disaster Animal Response Team (DART), the Del Norte High School Interact Club, and even a few volunteers from nearby counties.  Total recovered trash, metal and recycling was 4040 lbs.

“We especially appreciate our many business partners who support this work and the Whale Tail Grant Program.  Our business partners are recognized as River Guardians on the SRA website” said Werschkull.

All-Star Smith River Steward Rory McDonald with the SRA dump-trailer and his dog Addie. Rory is a 2016 recipient of the President’s Award for Outstanding Stewardship for his obsession with cleaning up beaches and riverside areas around Del Norte County. Photo by Grant Werschkull.

SRA volunteers closed out the year by cleaning up several sites and riverside areas along the Middle Fork and South Fork within the Smith River National Recreation Area (NRA). 900 pounds of trash was recovered in December — not including recyclables.  This is good news for both the NRA and the local beaches, because it’s believed that up to 80% of coastal trash originates inland.

For more information about SRA’s Stewardship Projects and Coastal and River Cleanups please visit the SRA website at  To volunteer please send an email to with your contact information.