SOUTH COAST -- SOLVE Oregon is looking for volunteers to help clean up South Coast beaches before winter storms hit the area and wash trash into the ocean, during the Beach and Riverside Cleanup later this month.
The projects in the Coos Bay and Reedsport areas will all be on Saturday, Sept. 21. SOLVE will be working at Siltcoos Outlet, Horsfall Beach, Umpqua Dunes, and Bastendorff Beach. According to SOLVE's website, the projects are scheduled for three hours with volunteers meeting at 10 a.m.
"Volunteers are typically self-led and by 1 p.m. most volunteers are done and ready to celebrate taking care of Oregon together," said Jon Schmidt, SOLVE project coordinator for the event.
People interested in volunteering are encouraged to register at www.solveoregon.org to sign up for one of the 130 projects around the state; Schmidt noted each project has different cleaning needs, meeting places, and other information, which can be found on the project's online entry. Volunteers are advised to dress appropriately for working outdoors and encouraged to bring their own supplies, though Schmidt added trash bags, gloves, and bottled water can be provided for people who don't have their own.
The project to clean at Umpqua Dunes will meet at Umpqua Beach Parking Lot 2, off Salmon Harbor Drive.
The Horsfall Beach project group will meet at the Horsfall day use OHV Staging Area.
The Siltcoos Outlet volunteers will meet at the Siltcoos Outlet day use parking lot.
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The Bastendorff Beach volunteers will meet at Bastendorff Beach Park.
Signs will be in place to help find the volunteer groups.
According to Schmidt, most of the trash and debris likely to be encountered will be items that can be picked up with gloved hands. For smaller items, and stuff that can be lost in the sand like microplastics, a colander or strainer is recommended to help sift sand. Any hazardous material, such as sharp objects, chemical containers, and drug paraphernalia, should be left alone and reported to the project leader.
SOLVE's Beach and Riverside Cleanup was scheduled to be after most summer parties are done, but before the bulk of winter storms hit. Schmidt said the environmental impact to wildlife is expected to be minimal, since the event is supposed to be happening when snowy plover nesting isn't an issue.
SOLVE Oregon has been helping to improve the Oregon environment for approximately 50 years. Their website notes that only humans can cleanup natural areas and keep them enjoyable for future generations, as well as protecting wildlife from the negative effects of litter and pollution. The organization encourages people to volunteer, or even just make sure to properly dispose of trash during a party or day at the beach.
"Visitors and locals alike have a responsibility to care for the Oregon coast," Schmidt said. "It is a national treasure! Joining beach cleanups is a positive action that is personally rewarding and a great team building experience that all ages can participate in easily."