The San Antonio Bay Partnership’s (SABP) Shorelines Cleanup, now in its third year, has evolved into a multi-day, multi-partner effort to remove heavy trash.
On Thursday, September 22nd, Braskem Seadrift employees cleaned up the shoreline of the Powderhorn Wildlife Management Area along Broad Bayou. On Tuesday, Sept. 27, the Seedrift Community, under the leadership of Janie Waghorn, mobilized 10 local boats his captain to conduct an initial cleanup, while Aransas National Wildlife Refuge staff Cleaned up the shelter shoreline. On Thursday, September 29th, the entire senior class at St. Joe High School in Victoria cleaned up the coastline of Port O’Connor as a class service project. Saturday 1st October marked her third year the boat sailed from Port O’Connor. Additionally, several boats independently cleaned the shoreline during the period.
“We are delighted to have significantly expanded this effort this year. In all respects, this event was our most successful yet in terms of participation,” said Alan Berger, SABP Chair and Cleanup Coordinator. said. “This shows a growing awareness and community concern about plastic litter in the bay.”
The total work involved 183 personnel and 33 boats, removing approximately 4 tons (3 roll-off bins) of debris from the Gulf shoreline throughout the Port O’Connor and Seadrift areas. More than 54 miles of coastline have been cleared thanks to these dedicated volunteers.
As the team picked up the trash, designated team members recorded each item on a data sheet. This data reveals the staggering amount of trash in our creeks and is key to providing insight into how the trash ended up in the creeks.
Over 11,000 items were removed from local coves this year. A total of 31,017 pieces of trash have been removed in his three years of Shorelines Cleanup events. Berger uses the data to assess local sources of trash, and observes that much of the trash appears to have been blown off boats and can be prevented by changing sailor behavior.
“Marine litter is an aesthetic problem and, as science continues to show, an environmental problem. It’s a thing,” said Berger. Doing this work as part of a dedicated team replaces monotony with camaraderie and fun competition. ”
Over 50 miles of coastline have been cleared, but that’s not enough. Changing our collective habits to reduce plastic entering our bay will have a real impact. I will try,” Berger said. “A good place to start is to ‘skip the plastic’ on your boat! Use a refillable water bottle or a refillable coffee cup to keep the bay clean.” ”
Funding for the event was provided by the Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program through the NOAA Marine Debris Program Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant. Other sponsors include Braskem, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, San Antonio River Authority, HEB, TPWD and USFW.
For full report and photos, visit SABayPartnership.org. The event is volunteer driven. If you would like to be on our contact list for next year’s event, please contact AllanRBerger@outlook.com or text us at 713-829-2852. A boat and crew are always needed.