Community Beach Cleanups

Begone, plastic pollution! We work with volunteers to host community beach cleanups, as well as local 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.

Why should you come to a beach cleanup?

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?

We’re glad you asked! Here is our full 2022 Beach Cleanup calendar if you want to plan ahead, but please check our Events page for final details in case anything changes! 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 additional 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!

How else does RE Sources combat plastic pollution in the Salish Sea?

RE Sources and volunteers work to curb plastic pollution at every level — from beach cleanups to rallying community members on the Capitol steps in Olympia:

  • We advocate for and mobilize the public to push legislators to pass bold policies that limit plastic waste at the local, statewide, and national levels. Most recently, we urged the Washington State Legislature to pass bills that reduce plastic pollution, like a 2019 law setting targets to reduce packaging in products and the waste stream (SB 5397),
  • We host community beach (and sometimes river or lake) cleanups! Find an upcoming one on our Events page,
  • We train community scientists to monitor the health of shoreline wildlife,
  • Our North Sound Baykeeper team goes on regular pollution patrols. Trash, especially plastic, is one of the most common sources of pollution our team finds in our local waterways,


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!


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


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 

Kirsten McDade, Pollution Prevention Specialist
Phone: (360) 220-0556

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

2022 Cleanup Calendar

Download a printable version of all 2022 cleanups here

January 4 (Tues.): 10am–12pm, Maritime Heritage Park, Bellingham
Theme: Happy New Year!

February 14 (Mon.): 10am–12pm, parking lot near 1000 Hilton Ave (I & J Waterway, Bellingham).
Theme: Love your oceans

March 22 (Tues.) 12–2pm: Locust Beach, 3199 Locust Ave, Bellingham
Theme: World Water Day!

April 22 (Fri.): 12–2pm, Birch Bay State Park. Meet across street from BP Heron Center
Theme: Earth Day & Community Science month

May 8 (Sun.): 3–5pm, Larrabee State Park. Meet at amphitheater, have a Discover Pass!
Theme: Mother’s Day

June 8 (Wed.): 4–6pm, 9261 Semiahmoo Pkwy, Blaine
Theme: Orca month & World Oceans Day

July 5 (Tues.): 10am–12pm, Cherry Pt. Aquatic Reserve, 4601-4609 Gulf Rd, Ferndale
Theme: Post-4th of July cleanups

August 11 (Thur.): 4–6pm, Whatcom Falls Park, Silver Beach Rd entrance. Meet at trailhead next to hatchery
Theme: Stormwater & pollution prevention

September 17 (Sat.): 10am–12pm, Locust Beach, 3199 Locust Ave, Bellingham
Theme: International Coastal Cleanup

October 15 (Sat.): 12–2pm, Lake Padden, east entrance. Meet at picnic shelters by basketball court
Theme: Clean Water Act 50th anniversary

November 25 (Fri.): 10am–12pm, Little Squalicum Beach. Meet at Park Trailhead, 640 Marine Dr.
Theme: Giving Tuesday

December 10 (Sat.): 2–4pm, Maritime Heritage Park, Bellingham
Theme: Celebrate 2022!