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Tribes, DNR help clean South Puget Sound

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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If you live on the water of South Puget Sound, chances are last week you saw groups of people combing beaches and picking up debris.

On Oct. 21, crews from local shellfish farms, the Squaxin Island Tribe, the Department of Natural Resources, the Pacific Shellfish Institute, the Puget Sound Keepers and members of the community gathered to collect debris along the South Puget Sound.

The effort, hosted and organized by the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association (PCSGA), is a part of a longstanding tradition for the South Puget Sound's shellfish community to keep the beaches clean, according to a news release.

Environmental stewardship is a core value of PCSGA, as shellfish farms rely on healthy marine ecosystems for their livelihoods, the release said. Shellfish cannot properly grow or be harvested without good water quality.

More than 100 miles of beach and several inlets were covered, including Eld, Totten, Hammersley, Case and Carr inlets.

Crews also cleaned beaches on Squaxin, Harstine, McNeil, Anderson and Ketron islands and Oakland Bay.

Aquaculture gear from the shellfish industry typically comprises a small amount of the debris collected, much of which is sent back to farms to be recycled or reused.

The PCSGA does biannual cleanup events. To let the group know of an area that needs cleaning, call 754-2744.

All material collected is brought into common landing sites at Arcadia boat ramp and National Fish and Oyster Co.

Once on shore, the aquaculture debris is separated from the general debris, categorized and counted, the release said. PCSGA uses the information to identify the source of aquaculture debris and work with responsible growers to reduce future releases of the gear from their farms.

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Original Publication Date: October 29, 2015

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