Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods

Promoting education, preservation & restoration of the natural & cultural resources of Russian River area State Parks
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Sonoma Coast Volunteer Stewardship: Marine Debris Monitoring & Beach Cleanups


The Marine Debris Monitoring Program started as a national study conducted by The Ocean Conservancy. Data has been collected for many years to determine the types of debris that is being washed ashore. Volunteers meet monthly to collect and catalog debris, learn about its effect on marine life and keep our beaches clean.

The tidal zone along the Pacific Coast is a fragile environment that is home to numerous species of organisms. Each delicate plant and animal occupies a precise niche in the ecosystem. Humans, often unwittingly, are the cause of numerous impacts on this ecosystem including: sedimentation, chemical runoff, litter and pollution, disturbance and habitat loss.

You can visit the following web site for comprehensive information about marine debris and its effects on the marine environment:

However great our impact is on the environment, there are easy ways for all of us to practice stewardship and make a difference. Simple things like: using biodegradable detergents, cleaning up litter on the beach, taking only manmade litter away from the beach (leaving plants, animals, rocks and shells), and being aware of what flows down storm drains - all work together to promote a sustainable coastal ecology.

Keary (seen wearing a marine debris hat he created as an educational aid in the photo above) and Sally Sorenson have been coordinating this important stewardship program for a number of years. One Saturday of the month volunteers are needed to assist with collecting and cataloging the debris found at Bodega Dunes State Beach. Adult or youth groups are especially encouraged to consider this worthwhile effort to steward our environment.

New volunteers are required to attend one of the three General Orientation Sessions offered during the year, however stewardship volunteers can sign-up for activities any time of the year and do not have to wait to attend an orientation before beginning to volunteer.

Orientation Sessions

If you would like more information about becoming a marine debris monitoring volunteer, other VIP Programs or to register for orientations and seminars, please contact: Margaret Pearson Pinkham, Volunteer Manager, at or (707) 869-9177 ext. 1#.

Ocean of Garbage
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