CoastWalk kick off is today

CoastWalk, the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies annual beach clean up and survey, starts today with a kick-off talk at 6:30 p.m. at the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union on the Sterling Highway. Volunteers can sign up to monitor and clean sections of Kachemak Bay beaches.  This year’s theme is “Healthy Kachemak, Healthy You!” On that theme, the evening includes talks by Melody Barrett of SVT Health Center, who talks about the importance of clean water and clean oceans, and Rachel Lord of Cook Inletkeeper, who talks about the importance of clean water and oceans to ecosystems and fish.

New for this year is the Clean Kachemak Challenge. Alaska USA has already signed up to do a team beach cleanup and is host to a marine debris sculpture of a sea star. Businesses and organizations are invited to sponsor cleanups of beaches or to sponsor the CACS marine debris art program. Sponsorships range from $250 for a team of six on the north side of the bay to $1,000 for a team of 14 to clean up an area on the south side of the bay. Sponsorships include T-shirts and boat transportation to some cleanup locations. Selection of beaches starts Thursday night.

Now in its 30th year, CoastWalk uses an adopt-a-beach model. Volunteers clean up beaches, record kinds and quantities of marine debris, and also record information about beaches such as erosion, marine life, birds, and human use. Community cleanups also will be held on Sept. 5 at MacDonald Spit, on Sept. 13 at Bear Cove and Aurora Lagoon and on Oct. 11 at Mariner Park. Community cleanups are limited to 14, and volunteers can sign up Thursday at the kickoff.

For more information on CoastWalk, contact Loretta Brown, CoastWalk coordinator, at 235-6741 or