Beach and Watershed Cleanup
Each year we take detailed records of what is collected, in conformance with the Marine Conservation Foundation protocols.  Please put the date on your calendar and plan on joining us.
Contact coordinator Tim Johnson at 224-7094 for more information.

Caring for the Coast: Beach Cleanup in Kenai Fjords from Ocean Alaska Science and Learning on Vimeo.

2009-2013 marine debris cleanup statistics available

There is great ecological value in removing trash from Alaska's pristine coastline. And there's value in tracking the staggering numbers. Knowing past conditions helps us track changes. Tim Johnson, board secretary and marine debris coordinator, has kept accurate records for the past years. Here's a link to his spreadsheet.

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2012:Reflecting on a year's beach and watershed cleanups

Three words sum up the year for our cleanup efforts: hellacious weather conditions. Fortunately, a large number of very dedicated volunteers persevered through the conditions dealt and cleaned up over eight regional beaches. These crews were able to fill over 73 bags along with multiple other items totaling over 2700 pounds of debris. This year’s ‘trashy treasures’ ranged from the usual suspects: various foam, plastic, and metal objects to some peculiar shipping container and Japanese Tsunami items. The odd items that came in off of recent shipping container dumps included plastic sports team fly swatters, foam basketballs and footballs, water bottles, and hummingbird feeders. Japanese tsunami debris this year included large volume wind driven objects including huge polystyrene buoys, blown insulation segments, and large plastic buoys primarily used in mari-culture operations.

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Along with the marine debris teams were multiple volunteer groups focused on our local watershed areas- primarily on AK DNR lands up Exit Glacier Road/Box Canyon areas. Items removed included a variety of camping/squatting refuse AND the kitchen sink (see picture below). These are perennially trashed lands that RBCA’s volunteers have been cleaning up for over a decade.

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Please mark your calendars for RBCA’s 9th annual beach and watershed cleanup coming up on May 18th. This year’s cleanup series promises to be particularly challenging due to the high volume of anticipated Japanese debris coming into our area. If you are interested in donating a boat, supplies, or volunteering on one of the crews please contact cleanup director Tim Johnson at

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After four years of cleaning the Resurrection Bay beaches we are finding less trash and felt the need to expand our reach into Day Harbor and the Kenai Fjords National Park (KFNP). The National Park Service provided major assistance through the challenge cost share program (CCSP) which allowed RBCA to hire a local vessel to visit the KFNP outer coast and clean several large keeper beaches with huge stockpiles of marine debris twice this summer. RBCA sends a huge thanks to the Park Service for joining us in expanding our efforts this year. Thanks Fritz Klasner (KFNP) and Tim Johnson (RBCA) for their work towards making this happen.

We scoured outer coast beaches and many roadside pullouts this summer picking up an astonishing amount and diversity of trash. From Driftwood Bay, Porcupine Cove, Thunder Bay and Taroka Arm, to Fox Island Spit and Bulldog Cove we gathered nearly 19,000 pounds of styrofoam bits, plastic water bottles, fishing buoys, nets and line. From the pullouts along Exit Glacier road, to Fourth of July beach and up the Seward Highway to the Mile 15-Snow River unofficial shooting range (recently closed), we removed thousands of shotgun shells, rifle cartridges, glass bottle fragments, oil barrels, bowling balls, shattered TVs, and general garbage. With the help of heavy equipment (provided by Samson Tug and Barge and Resurrection Rentals), we extracted 5 abandoned vehicles.

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The Norseman's powerful crane was perfect for lifting nylon sacks full of debris from our skiff onto the ship and from the ship to the dumpster (donated by Alaska Waste) at the IMS dock
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Michelle Keagle, Ami Wright, Dan Walker, Matt Gray (skipper), Madelyn Walker, Olivia Scubert, Jaqueline Ramsay, John Eavis and Jim Pfeiffenberger await the OK to deliver line, hawser and a 55 gallon drum to the Norseman.
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For years Mile 15 inappropriately served as a dump and target range. These two vehicles and refrigerator had been abandoned, rolled, obliterated by bullets and burned.
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Same place after many hours of volunteer labor
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A special thanks to Fritz Klasner and the Kenai Fjords National Park for assisting RBCA in obtaining a grant that
allowed us to hire the M/V Norseman for our outer coast cleanups. This 110-foot research vessel was the perfect craft for this work. We also want to thank Alaska Waste, and the valuable time and effort contributed by the 75 volunteers who joined in this well-coordinated activity.

(More photos)

Last year’s cleanup included Royal Celebrity Tours contributing 132 employees down from Anchorage to help. The Alaska SeaLife Center donated two small boats complete with crew.  We’re hoping to build on our yearly partnerships and continue increasing the outreach of the cleanup through the efforts of all our great volunteers.  4th Annual Resurrection Bay Beach and Watershed Cleanup brought in tons of cans, plastic bottles, grocery bags, pallet nails, spent shotgun shells, tires, and coolest - a plastic duckie from a 1992 container spill. These thousands of ducks have helped map Gulf currents. Many many thanks to all the volunteers including over 100 staff from Royal Celebrity Tours!

2008 cleanup clay pigeons
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Royal Celebrity crew made quick work of a nasty job
Royal Celebrity crew made quick work of a nasty job
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Hundreds of shells and cartridges from Mile 14
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In 2007 forty-four community members participated in the beach cleanup.  A total of five boats delivered these volunteers for trash pick up from seventeen beaches throughout the bay.  The event started and finished from the north ramp of the small boat harbor.   A full rolling dumpster load of various plastic, iron, and polystyrene items were removed from the beaches (roughly 35 cubic yards).  Even wider community participation included contributions from NOAA, Alaska Sea life Center, AK State Parks, AK Waste, Christo’s Palace, Resurrect Art Coffee House, ALPAR, and multiple private boat owners.

In a separate effort, team leaders and students of Seward-based Outward Bound cleaned up clothing glass, diapers, bottles and cigarette butts in a pouring rain at Grouse Lake at mile 7.
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Local volunteer Ann Ghicadus with a treasure
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Cleanup crew at Fox Island Spit
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Grouse Lake crew from Outward Bound
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In 2006 the beautiful weather enabled the crew of 19 volunteers and three boats (two private and one National Park Service zodiac) to cleanup a total of 11 beaches.  The list included Tonsina, 4th of July, Derby Cove, Calisto, North and South beaches of Caines Head, and North Beach of the Fox Island sand spit.  Both cleanups followed with a burrito feast sponsored by RBCA. A heaping boatload of styrofoam chunks, net fragments and plastic bottles were skiffed back to Seward for proper disposal. Meanwhile, 6 RBCA volunteers repeated the annual and tedious collection of broken glass and burned pallet nails at Fourth of July Creek.
The garbage skow from Fox Island offloads in Seward
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The 2005 cleanup was limited to two beaches (4th of July and Tonsina) and 10 volunteers due to inclement weather not amenable to boat travel.  We teamed up with Alaska State Parks in order to clean up heavily-used areas in Resurrection Bay. One team hiked toTonsina Point to pick up trash and trim trees and bushes overhanging the trail. Another team combed Fourth of July beach, a popular hangout for bonfires and parties, to remove several hundred pounds of nails from burned pallets and many broken bottles.


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Map of the Cleanup area
cleanup area.
CODE: Clean Oceans Depend on Everyone