August 30, 2021

On what may have been the hottest summer day yet, volunteers with the Center for Coastal Studies Beach Brigade headed out over the west end breakwater in Provincetown to conduct a shoreline cleanup on Wednesday, August 25th.

A dozen volunteers hiked out to Wood End in the morning to move debris items from the flats and rocks to higher ground for removal by boat at high tide later in the day.

Legacy aquaculture gear – abandoned in the ’80s when an unknown parasite destroyed the clam fishery at the time – was excavated from the moors on the west side of the dike, yielding 56 clam trays, leaded line, mesh netting and a pailful of rusted steel staples. Rope, netting and insulation were cut out of the rocks; soda bottles and face masks were pulled from the cracks; and in what might be the oddest trash removal effort to date, a regulation-size ping pong table was hauled up from its mired location in the flats onto the breakwater, a transfer requiring many hands and careful engineering.

L-R: Flyer’s workboat at high tide removal (courtesy of D. Flattery); Carly Amarant, Mark Dubois and Candace Nagle find the ping pong table (courtesy of L. Ludwig); stacked clam seed trays after excavation (courtesy of K. Ledoux).

At high tide, three boats (Bethany Lynn, Jolly and Flyer’s) made their way carefully to the dike to retrieve all the cached debris and bring it to the shore by the Provincetown Inn. The clam trays were saved for future use, and the remainder of the trash and fishing debris were brought to the transfer station. Beyond repair, the ping pong table was hoisted out by crane at the pier and sent to the scrap metal pile. In all, over 1,000 pounds of trash was disposed of.

For information about upcoming beach debris clean-up opportunities, or to see more images from this adventure, please contact Laura Ludwig, Manager for the Center for Coastal Studies Marine Debris & Plastics Program, at [email protected]

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