Surfrider marks 400th victory, beach cleanups continue

KAPAA — Even a small victory makes a difference in the landscape of a war.

For the Surfrider Foundation, which announced its landmark 400th coastal victory over the past decade, consistently moving forward and improving coasts and oceans is the primary goal.

“The Surfrider Foundation’s 400 coastal victories demonstrate that if we organize and work together, we can advance coastal protection, even in the face of major challenges,” Surfrider Foundation CEO Chad Nelsen said in a news release.

The group considers a government decision made in favor of the coastal and ocean environment that results in a positive conservation outcome or improves public access to be a victory.

Improving coastal areas and the ocean is a priority for volunteers of the Kauai Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, which has cleaned up thousands of pounds of debris in the past year alone.

Carl Berg, chair and Blue Water Task Force coordinator, called last year’s work a “great accomplishment.”

“In 2016, we removed close to 70,000 pounds of marine debris off coastal lines,” said Barbara Wiedner, vice-chair and co-coordinator of the marine debris removal program. “We have also been doing water testing and we’ve partnered with different groups and organizations to reuse that debris that we pick up off the beach, too.”

Some of the debris, such as plastic bottles and containers, will be used by various companies and organizations to make shoes, said Wiedner.

Each Wednesday and at least once a month on Saturdays, Wiedner and the Kauai Chapter go out to clean up debris around the island.

It is because of the efforts of people like Wiedner and her team that the foundation is making a difference not only on Kauai, but in coastal areas around the nation as well, Nelsen said.

“These significant coastal victories would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our incredible network of supporters,” he said.

“Now, more than ever, we need to join together, rally even more people to our cause, and build an even stronger movement to protect our ocean, waves and beaches for today, tomorrow and every day after.”

In addition to organized beach cleanups, the local chapter also conducts water quality testing, community partnerships and restoration events.

“We truly care about what we do, but we’re getting tired from the amount of work that is needed,” said Wiedner.

“We’re really looking for volunteers to help us make a difference on this island,” she said.

Info: https://kauai.surfrider.org/ or Barbara Wiedner at 635-2593.

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