.Coastal Cleanup Day Returns to the Monterey Bay

Plus, the National Marine Sanctuary commemorates its 30th anniversary

Ocean lovers around Santa Cruz County are gearing up for a busy weekend. This Saturday, volunteers at 64 sites around Monterey Bay will celebrate International Coastal Cleanup Day. And on Sunday, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary invites the public to celebrate its 30th anniversary at Sanctuary Fest, a free community event. 

Local nonprofit Save Our Shores is spearheading the volunteer efforts; the organization, known for its beach cleanups and educational programs, will host 64 cleanups that stretch from Año Nuevo State Beach in Pescadero to Andrew Molera State Park in Big Sur.

The event will also extend inland. Six groups will focus on the San Lorenzo River, from Boulder Creek to the river mouth. Other volunteers will meet at Watsonville Slough, and one group will meet even farther south at Arroyo Seco in Big Sur. 

All cleanups start at 9am and end at noon. For those unable to make it on Sept. 17, Save Our Shores recommends downloading the Clean Swell App to do a self-guided cleanup anytime in September.

Volunteers can register for cleanups and learn more about the app on the Save Our Shores website, saveourshores.org.

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After caring for the bay on Saturday, the public can celebrate it on Sunday. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary will commemorate its 30th anniversary as well as the 50th anniversary of the National Marine Sanctuary System on Sept. 18.

The Sanctuary Fest will take place from 10am to 3pm on the Santa Cruz Wharf, Cowell Beach and the Sanctuary Exploration Center. 

The MBNMS Foundation, Save the Waves Coalition, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Save Our Shores and other partners will offer demonstrations and outreach activities at an exhibitor fair on the wharf.

Guests can also register on the Sanctuary Fest website to join kayak nature tours, stand-up paddleboarding lessons and wildlife tours. 

The 30th annual Aloha Outrigger Races, hosted by the Pu Pu ‘O Hawai’i Outrigger Canoe Club and the City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation, will start at 9am off the Santa Cruz Wharf.

On the shore, activities include sand sculpture-building on Cowell Beach, virtual scavenger hunts along the wharf and marine science talks and films at the Sanctuary Exploration Center across the street.For more information and to register for activities, visit the Sanctuary Fest webpage at montereybay.noaa.gov.

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