The Great Bay Clean Up Continues: 2,400 Pounds of Debris Cleaned Up!

A Photo Story by Jill Farrell with photos by The Stewardship Network New England, Emily Lord
crew-pickign-upVolunteers along the shorelines of the Great Bay Wildlife Refuge  

In our July issue of Downstream we shared the story of the Great Bay Debris Mapping and Spring Clean Up event. We felt proud of the 367 pounds of trash we gathered that day but also knew that more was out there and more was arriving with each tide, every single day. We decided another clean up event was necessary so again with our awesome partners at The Stewardship Network New England along with partners at Blue Ocean Society and as part of National Estuaries Week and the NH Coastal Clean Up we got to planning. Additionally, we wanted to make sure The Great Bay Gunners, who had originally reported the issue of large debris on the shores of Great Bay, felt that that debris was cleaned up.

It took some coordination with our colleagues at NH Fish and Game and a local farmer to get the Great Bay Gunners, a social hunting and outdoors club, access to the shorelines they had mapped for debris. Then it took four committed, strong guys, a snow sled, a lot of teamwork, a couple pick-up trucks and a couple of hours to haul1,500 POUNDS OF DEBRIS from the shoreline. These guys use these lands for their recreation and enjoyment and felt that helping to keep them clean was the least they could do. We could not be more thankful to them for their efforts! Ted Hartmann is a founding member of the Gunners and is this month’s Clean Water Champion!

Once the Gunners had hauled their debris to the donated dumpster from Waste Management at Great Bay Marine (thanks WM & GBM!). The TSNNE and PREP crew moved over to the Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Newington, NH to welcome 35 new volunteers for another shoreline cleanup. With awesome help from the US Fish & Wildlife staff, the volunteers were allowed access to a closed portion of the Refuge where lots of trash has accumulated. There were family teams, mother and daughter duos, best friend groups and together with partners each volunteer filled out a data card from The Ocean Conservancy to be recorded as part of the International Coastal Clean Up event. The OC uses the data collected from around the world to publish reports and influence international and regional policies to control pollution. Plus, it gives us all great insight to the ever increasing issue of marine debris. You’ll be shocked to see what was in the 900 POUNDS OF DEBRIS we found in Great Bay!

One set of volunteers even found a message in a bottle!

Abby from PREP did a great job crunching all the data sheets to tell the story of what we found along the shorelines of our gorgeous bay.

Total pieces (<2.5 cm) from both cleanups 

Foam: 568

Glass: 589

Plastic: 442

Great Bay Gunners 

Pounds: 1,500

Distance cleaned: 0.10 miles

Most unusual item: Professional race car tire

PREP/Stewardship Network

Pounds: 900

Distance cleaned: 1 mile

Most unusual item: 2 messages in bottles
Today we can celebrate and be proud of what was accomplished, however, the harsh reality is the trash will keep arriving, more each and every day. PREP and TSNNE are committed to keeping the shores of Great Bay clean so we will continue to plan and host more clean ups and we’ll let you know about them. Until then, stay tuned to the TSNNE’s Events Calendar for more opportunities to get involved across our gorgeous watershed. And help others learn about the impact of litter on our waters, if you see someone throw trash on the ground, speak up! Tell them it all goes to the sea, there is no away! It takes a village to keep a village clean!


PREP is part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Estuary Program, a joint program between local, state and federal agencies established under the Clean Water Act with the goal of protecting and enhancing nationally significant estuarine resources. PREP is supported in part by an EPA matching grant and is housed within the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering at the University of New Hampshire.