Tony Reed
Del Norte Triplicate

While volunteers were busy cleaning up trash on the coastline Saturday, others were cleaning under it.

A group of divers from Humboldt Skin Divers came out to Crescent City Harbor’s marina to pick up trash from the marina floor.

Club member Charlie Nothoff said the group regularly assists coastal areas by cleaning up underwater debris and decided to come to Crescent City.

“We talked to a local diver who told us there’s a lot of trash down there,” Club President Ron Buckland said, “... unfortunately.”

The group of eight divers spent more than an hour picking up underwater debris. Their effort was incentivized by an informal club contest to see who could find the most interesting refuse item.

Buckland took top honors after locating and hauling a large boat or submersible hatch to the surface. Buckland said the hatch weighed about 100 pounds and had to be pulled to the surface using ropes. Photos of the hatch are posted on the Humboldt Skindivers Facebook page.

The club held a barbecue in the marina parking lot after the dive.

Smith River Alliance efforts

The numbers are in, and Saturday’s Coastal Cleanup was a huge success. Some 48 volunteers cleaned up several sites and collected more than 8,600 pounds of trash, in addition to 1,950 pounds of metal and other recyclables.

That’s two 22-yard dumpsters and two 4-yard dumpsters filled to the brim.

This year’s work builds on the success of previous Cleanups organized by Smith River Alliance (SRA), which have traditionally focused on the Smith River NRA as well as other river and stream reaches in the watershed. In 2016, the Alliance and volunteer partners collected more than 5,000 pounds of trash from the NRA and adjacent lands, as well as two abandoned vehicles, a motorhome and a travel trailer.

In years past, SRA has often relied on student groups from Humboldt State University (HSU) to complete the massive cleanups.

Volunteers from clubs such as the Waste Reduction and Resource Awareness Program (WRRAP) and the Natural Resources Club would regularly make the trip from Arcata, camping out at Rock Creek Ranch on the South Fork Smith. This year, however, those groups were unable to help out because they were participating in the Humboldt-based Coastal Cleanup.

“We really had to lean heavily on the Del Norte community this year,” says Chelsea Baier, a project associate with SRA/Smith River Alliance. “We had many great sponsors, an amazing turnout, and the volunteers were almost all locals.”

“Participants included a father-son team, a mother-daughter team, and four individuals from our local Coast Guard station. These eight volunteers were exceptionally hard working – and it was exciting and rewarding for everybody that we could accomplish so much in just a few hours. This is inspiration for future cleanups,” said Baier.

Reach Tony Reed at treed@triplicate.com

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