Community Beach Cleanups

Begone, plastic pollution! We work with volunteers to host community cleanups of local beaches, lakes, creeks, and rivers.

See upcoming cleanups

To combat plastic pollution in the Salish Sea, RE Sources regularly hosts beach cleanups — as well as cleanups along rivers and lakes — throughout Whatcom and Skagit counties, providing cleanup equipment and a place to connect with like-minded community members.

Plastic pollution is a concern for water quality and wildlife everywhere, and has even been discovered in drinking water and table salt worldwide. Recent research found that Pacific Ocean juvenile fish have been consuming microplastic particles in their first days of life, with not-yet understood health consequences.

Our region has a lot of well-loved beaches. This means, unfortunately, there is often a lot of garbage and plastic waste that makes its way onto shorelines, from people littering as well as trash washing ashore. We often partner with other organizations focused on clean water to make these possible, like Ocean Conservancy, the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee, the Whatcom County Marine Resources Committee, the Mt. Baker Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Surfrider Northwest Straits Chapter.

When is the next cleanup I can volunteer?

We’re glad you asked! Check out our Events page for details on the next cleanup. Here is our full 2020 Beach Cleanup calendar if you want to plan ahead.

Cleanups happen throughout our region including Cherry Point and Fidalgo Bay Aquatic Reserves, along Bellingham Bay, at Baker Lake, and other locations needing trash removed.

We host a few annual cleanups as well: World Water Day in March, Earth Day in April, a post-Fourth of July cleanup, a local cleanup for International Coastal Cleanup in September, and Make A Difference Day in October. If it’s around one of those times, check the Events page for details!

Learn more about RE Sources’ other actions to fight plastic pollution.

Local Business Partner Spotlight

Sea Witch Botanicals aims to keep the world’s water healthy by providing natural home and body products that are good for you, and the environment. This Bellingham-based business is a 1% for the Planet member and a B-Corp committed to doing good. They support our work with monetary donations and by facilitating our cleanups. Together, we’re making waves in sustainability!

FAQs

Nothing but weather-appropriate clothing and rugged footwear! We provide buckets, grabbers, gloves, bags, and trash removal. And sometimes snacks. Contact Pollution Prevention Specialist Kirsten McDade or North Sound Baykeeper Eleanor Hines with any questions.

Cleanups are usually between one and two hours. We offer lunch-break speed-cleanups, more involved ones, and even an annual overnight camp-out cleanup at Baker Lake in September.

A dead giant Pacific Octopus. A washed-up laundry machine. A box of kittens (yes, they were fine!). A large piece of foam with a whole small tidal ecosystem living in it. One of our supporters found a whole car submerged in the Skagit River and reported it to us via the Water Reporter app. Join us at a cleanup and you never know what you’ll come across!

Take Action

Be a part of changing the world

Donate

Our beach cleanups require grabbers and buckets, gloves, trash/recycling hauling, refreshments, plenty of staff time, and — of course — people power!

Volunteer at our next cleanup. Check our Events page and our Facebook event listings for details and to RSVP.

Stop trash from entering waterways with your smartphone

Potential sources of pollution aren’t always obvious. Is something on the ground near water that seems like it shouldn’t be? Is something other than water making its way down a storm drain? Even if you aren’t sure, you can post a photo of anything that seems like it shouldn’t be going into our waterways! Learn more about how the Water Reporter app works and download our guide for spotting pollution — anytime, anywhere. Download the Water Reporter app on Android or iOS.

Download the guide

Get in touch with our North Sound Baykeeper team!

Eleanor Hines, North Sound Baykeeper
Phone: (360) 733-8307 ext. 213 
Email: EleanorH@re-sources.org

Kirsten McDade, Pollution Prevention Specialist
Phone: (360) 220-0556
Email: KirstenM@re-sources.org

Notice a lot of trash on a public waterway? Consider organizing a cleanup with a group of your friends – we’ll lend you all the necessary clean up equipment.  Or you can contact us and we’ll look into hosting a cleanup there.

Like this work? Support it with a financial gift!

Make cleanups possible with a donation today!

Support beach cleanups

2020 Cleanup Calendar

Download a printable version of all 2020 cleanups here

Each time you attend a cleanup, you earn an entry into a drawing for a grand prize — a private sunset cruise for 6, donated by Gato Verde Adventure Sailing — and several other smaller prizes. Our community is grateful you offered your time to make the waters we share cleaner!

January 1 (Wed.): First cleanup of the decade!
10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
In front of Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce
Partners: BBWARM, Blaine Chamber of Commerce

January 18 (Sat.)
2:00–4:00 p.m.
Locust Beach, Bellingham
Partners: Surfrider Foundation Northwest Straits, Juneshine, Makeworth Market
Details and RSVP

February 14 (Fri.): Love Your Ocean for Valentine’s Day
12:00–1:30 p.m.
Maritime Heritage Park, Bellingham
Partners: Surfrider Foundation Northwest Straits, Makeworth Market, Bellingham Yoga Collective, Sea Witch Botanicals

March 22 (Sun.): World Water Day! CANCELLED
10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Mt. Baker Plywood near Little Squalicum Park, Port of Bellingham (map)
Partners: Port of Bellingham, Surfrider Foundation
Add to calendar

April 22 (Wed.): Celebrate Earth Day
4:00–6:00 p.m.
Locust Beach, Bellingham
Partners: Surfrider, REI, Western Washington University
Add to calendar

May 10 (Sun.)
10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Semiahmoo Spit, Blaine
Partners: Surfrider, Strength of Tides, Sea Witch Botanicals, Western Washington University
Add to calendar

May 30 (Sat.)
10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Deception Pass State Park
Partners: Deception State Park Foundation, Pacific Mammal Research (PACMAM), Surfrider Foundation
Add to calendar

June 20 (Sat.): Stay for a paddle afterwards!
10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Padden Lagoon, Bellingham (map)
Partner: Surfrider Foundation
Add to calendar

July 5 (Sun.): Choose a post-Fourth of July cleanup near you
10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Three options — Locust Beach in Bellingham, Cherry Point at Gulf Road (map), and Birch Bay ( in front of Birch Bay Visitor Information Center)
Partners: Surfrider Foundation, Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve Citizen Stewardship Committee, BBWARM
Add to calendar

August 12 (Wed.): Rally for the Alley
4:00–6:00 p.m.
Meet at 1530 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham
Partners: City of Bellingham, Surfrider Foundation, Makeworth Market
Add to calendar

September 12 (Sat.): International Coastal Cleanup
10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Locust Beach, Bellingham
Partners: Ocean Conservancy, Surfrider Foundation
Add to calendar

September 25-27: Baker Lake overnight cleanup
Baker Lake
RSVP required. Details and sign-up coming summer 2020

October 24 (Sat.): Make A Difference Day
10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Cornwall Beach, Bellingham
Partners: Western Washington University, Surfrider Foundation
Add to calendar

November 27 (Fri.): #OptOutside for Black Friday
10:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
I & J Waterway, Bellingham
Partners: Surfrider Foundation, REI
Add to calendar

December 1 (Tues.): #GivingTuesday and end-of-year celebration
3:00–4:00 p.m. cleanup at Maritime Heritage Park, Bellingham
5:00 Happy hour + PRIZE DRAWING at Chuckanut Brewery
Add to calendar

Shoutout to our 2020 sponsors

Makeworth Market
REI
Bellingham Community Food Co-op
Bellingham Yoga Collective
Chuckanut Brewery
Lafeens Donuts
Sea Witch Botanicals