News From the Center

by Larry Glass and Carrie Tully

Every Saturday in September 2020 is Coastal Cleanup Day!!!


A New Look…

This year’s Coastal Cleanup Day has effectively become a Coastal Cleanup month and will look quite a bit different. In order to maintain the safety of our community, Coastal Cleanup Day will be spread out over every Saturday in September instead of having a large gathering on one day. Our hope is that these changes will also help create a trash-picking habit that will keep you coming back for more. 


Safe Participation

We are asking that all participants only engage with others in their home, or members of their social distancing circle. It is important that you respect social distancing rules in accordance with the current State of California guidelines. We encourage you to wear masks, reusable protective gloves, and use trash pickers if available. This year we highly encourage individuals or groups from the same household to focus their cleanup energy on their own neighborhood. We would like to remind you that all water leads to the sea, and a clean ocean starts on your street!


Increased Emphasis on Citizen Science & Data Collection

This year at the Center we have been putting a strong focus on education and data collection. Citizen science is an integral part of Coastal Programs at the NEC. Our Coastal Program’s staff and volunteers have been working hard to track marine and neighborhood debris with the exciting and comprehensive NOAA Marine Debris Tracker application. This app helps the team identify local waste patterns (what kind of trash is being found and where) so we can advocate for waste reduction solutions in our community. 


You Can Win Prizes!

We are so appreciative of our Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers that this year we are offering our participants the chance to win prizes! Every Saturday we will host a prize drawing for every volunteer who fills out our Cleanup Results Reporting Form. Follow the NEC on Facebook or Instagram to learn about the weekly prizes being offered. In addition, we will be offering prizes based on four categories at the end of Coastal Cleanup Month.


Prize Categories:

Most Pieces of Trash Picked Up

Most Frequent Volunteer

Largest Item Picked Up

Best Photo Submitted

Please visit to learn more about this exciting event and our data collection tools! 

We want to once again thank our trash collectors and pledgers for your participation in the NEC’s first ever Trash-a-thon! Our fundraising goal for this unique first event that was dreamed up by our own inventive staff person, Chelsea Pulliam, was surpassed by quite a bit. We look forward to expanding the event with even more community involvement in the years to come!


We received notice from the Department of the Interior stating their intention to designate Lanphere and Ma-le’l Dunes as a National Landmark. Their evaluation concluded that these sites are unique in the North Pacific Border physiographic province. They are outstanding examples of the most diverse and highest quality remnants of coastal dune habitats in the province. The Lanphere and Ma-le’l Dunes are remarkably undisturbed, yet easily accessible.

National Natural Landmark designations are made to herald and support the voluntary conservation of public and private sites that illustrate our outstanding natural heritage. The NEC fully supports this designation.



While we are all focused on the pandemic and the continuing economic collapse, according to NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory, greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution in the atmosphere continues to rise. The four major pollutants tracked are: CO2 (carbon dioxide), CH4 (methane), N2O (nitrous oxide), and SF6 (sulfur hexafluoride). All of these have continued their unabated rise. Many observers felt that with localized visual pollution improvements because of a brief cessation of travel and some manufacturing, that these would somehow slow the rate of GHG pollution. Unfortunately, the rate of increase has not been substantially affected. 

In order to really have a lasting and significant impact on the rate of GHG increase, it is going to take a sustained and serious reduction in fossil fuel consumption. Here at the NEC, we continue to be focused on what we consider to be the biggest bad-actor of all, and that is the plastics industry. Plastics create pollution during the exploration process, the manufacturing process, and then most insidiously, as they break down in the environment. Plastics live on for decades in our landfills, continuing to release GHGs into the atmosphere. Besides adding to our overall GHG burden, they gradually break down in the environment, creating pollution on our beaches, in the oceans, rivers, and in our own community streets. And now we are finding microplastics in our food and water supply.

The biggest culprit in our cleanup activities — Coastal Cleanup Day, Adopt a Beach & Adopt a Block, and Trash-a-thon — you guessed it! PLASTICS.

So, please don’t take that plastic bag from your local store, and please get involved in one (or all!) of our cleanup activities!