Watershed Center Hosts Lighthouse Beach Cleanup

Mission Point Lighthouse on the old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw photo

Do you want to go outside and get some fresh air? Maybe pick up some trash along the beach while you’re at it? Here is your chance!

A beach cleaning is scheduled for this Saturday at 2 p.m. on the shore of the Mission Point Lighthouse. All you have to do is register here and show up at the lighthouse at 2pm. Garbage collection sets are provided.

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It’s part of an initiative from the Watershed Center’s Grand Traverse Bay. The organization coordinates a series of coastal cleanups around Grand Traverse Bay as part of the first annual Great Lakes CleanUP from April 24th to May 2nd, 2021.

A joint effort

The event is also happening thanks to a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Our local Watershed Center works with Buffalo Niagara WATERKEEPER®, the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, Friends of the Detroit River, and Milwaukee RIVERKEEPER® to coordinate coastal and offshore cleanup and drinking water sources and critical habitats throughout the Great Lakes Basin to protect .

The voluntary collaboration aims to remove 68 tons of litter from 17,120 acres of the Great Lakes shoreline by the end of 2022.

“We are honored that our friends at Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper are leading this coordinated effort across the Great Lakes Basin,” said Grand Traverse BAYKEEPER® Heather Smith.

She adds, “By removing litter along our coasts, we prevent man-made products like plastics and other synthetic wastes from endangering our drinking water and the health of fish and wildlife.”

In the Watershed Center, Mission Point Lighthouse |  Beach cleanings carried out watershed photoIn the Watershed Center, Mission Point Lighthouse | Beach cleanings carried out watershed photo

Worrying garbage numbers

22 million pounds of plastic enter the Great Lakes each year, posing a tremendous threat to the 40 million people who depend on the Great Lakes as a source of drinking water and the hundreds of native species that live in and rely on the lakes .

Plastic waste eventually breaks down into microplastic, which bioaccumulates in fish and wild animals in the Great Lakes – from the largest sturgeon to the smallest microorganisms. Plastics also attract toxic chemicals such as PCBs that bind to plastic surfaces in water.

Other local beach cleanings

The Watershed Center cleanup along the coast of Grand Traverse Bay includes non-contact, do-it-yourself cleanups from April 24th to May 2nd. Garbage collection sets are provided.

In addition to our Lighthouse Beach cleanup, two other cleanups are planned for Saturday: City of Traverse City’s Bolleyball Beach and Keith J. Charters’ Traverse City State Park Beach. Both take place at 10 a.m.

And of course, Covid-19 protocols, including masks and social distancing, are implemented to keep all volunteers safe.

The Watershed Center is supported by its local partners as part of the Great Lakes CleanUP: City of Traverse City, Elmwood Township, Grand Traverse Band of the Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Grand Traverse Freshwater Society, Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, Green Elk Rapids, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council, Peninsula Township, Surfrider Foundation Chapter, Northern Michigan Chapter, and Village of Elk Rapids.

For more information on the Watershed Center, visit the website here.

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