On September 30, 2017, community members and agency partners came together at the Conservancy’s Blowing Rocks Preserve in Hobe Sound to collect debris left by Hurricane Irma. The beach clean-up was co-hosted by The Nature Conservancy and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Monofilament and Recovery and Recycling Program, as part of the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Clean-up initiative.
Blowing Rocks Preserve is one of four flagship preserves in Florida. Named for its rocky Anastasia limestone shoreline, the 73-acre nature preserve extends across a barrier island from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian River Lagoon estuary. In mid-September 2017, Hurricane Irma passed over the Florida peninsula, resulting in damage to both coastal and inland areas of the state. Large amounts of marine debris washed up onto beaches on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
Local volunteers of all ages removed trash from the beach including fishing line, fishing nets, plastic bottles and caps. The hands-on action of the local community helped to restore the beauty of this special beach and reduce hazards to marine life, such as threats to the tiny sea turtle hatchlings and bottlenose dolphins that call the habitat of Blowing Rocks home.
The beach at the north end of Blowing Rocks Preserve is sandy with fewer rocks. Here, volunteers collected debris that was pushed up into the dune vegetation.
Local Girl Scouts helped to restore the beauty of Blowing Rocks Preserve and learned about ways they can help the environment when visiting the beach.
The Nature Conservancy's Preserve Manager Cristin Krasco with a colleague from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The organizations joined forces to co-host the hands-on event as part of the 2017 International Coastal Clean-up.
Debris can become trapped in the crevices of the limestone rock. Removing debris prevents it from washing back out to the ocean or posing hazards to animals on the beach like sea turtle hatchlings or birds.
Beach clean-ups are a great way for volunteers of all ages to help the environment.
Marine animals such as sea turtles and dolphins can become entangled in fishing line and rope. Removing these items from the beach ensures that they will not pose a hazard to marine life.
Debris often gets tangled in mats of seagrass or algae that wash up on the beach.
Osprey and fish at Blowing Rocks Preserve
Hurricane Irma washed many large objects on to the beach at Blowing Rocks Preserve. Volunteers worked in groups to remove items such as crab traps, pieces of boats, and even a microwave!