On August 2, eleven ECORP employees from three ECORP offices (Santa Ana, Redlands, and San Diego) came together with members from other volunteer organizations to remove trash from selected areas of the 965-acre Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge. Seventy-two full bags of trash plus several items of waterlogged debris including sofa cushions, pallets, and furniture were removed from the refuge. Over 200 pounds of trash were pulled from the corner section of a single pond. Trash removed was dominated by single-use plastic items including take-out containers, plastic bottles and bottle caps, straws, and plastic bags. The most commonly encountered items were small fragments of plastic and foam. These small pieces can be particularly devastating in the environment as they are easily consumed by wildlife.
We are really grateful that we were able to take the opportunity to make such a tangible difference to such an ecologically important area. The data collected during this process will be submitted to contribute to a citizen science project to identify the number and types of trash items found in different locations. This information can inform legislation locally and nationally and foster change in our communities.
We would like to thank Mac Purvin, the Refuge Manager, for making this effort possible and the ECORP volunteers for all their hard work.