Beach Cleanup Efforts

Every September, NECWA staff and over 60 Biology Students at Bridgewater State College (BSC), spend a few hours cleaning up Sandwich Beach on Cape Cod. Sandwich Beach Dr. John Jahoda, overseeing the field study at Sandwich Beach. Photo courtesy of a rocky beach located on the bay side of the Cape, just south of the east entrance to the Cape Cod Canal. Students enrolled in Dr. John Jahoda’s Ecology course come each September to these bay shores to participate in an ecological field study of marine invertebrates that live in the intertidal zone. The intertidal zone is the stretch of beach exposed on a low tide.

Students used hoola hoops as samplers to count green crabs, Asian shore crabs, common periwinkles and blue mussels in 3 separate areas along the length of the intertidal zone. Data collected by BSC students is added to a long-term database that examines the changes over time of these four dominant species of marine invertebrates that live in the intertidal zone of BSC students counting marine invertebrates in the intertidal zone. Photo courtesy of Tim Crowinshield.Sandwich Beach.

After completing their field work, BSC students and NECWA staff work together to pick up the trash that is strewn along the shores of Sandwich Beach. Teams of 3 or 4 individuals walk different areas of the beach, from the high tide line all the way to the low tide line, picking up marine debris and other forms of human related trash. Much of the debris is small in size and includes cigarette filters, plastic bags, plastic bottles and discarded fishing lines and ropes. But on occasion, large items are also removed from the beach and they have included lobster traps, barrels and fish buckets.

In 2007, this annual cleanup effort at Sandwich Beach became part of a larger community effort called Coastsweep, sponsored by the Massachusetts Office Coastal Zone Management - CZM. Coastsweep is the annual state-wide coastal cleanup that is coordinated by the Urban Harbors Institute of UMass Boston. In 2007, Coastsweep celebrated its 20th anniversary and has expanded its cleanup program to include marshes, river banks, ponds, and even the ocean floor.

Results from our clean-up effort on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007 was the collection of 17 pounds of trash from an area of over 25,521 square meters.


If you would like to help us in our efforts,
please send a check or money order to:

  • NECWA - New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance
  • 11 Clarence Soule Drive
  • Middleboro, MA 02346

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