WARRENTON Dane Osis, a park ranger for the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department at Fort Stevens State Park, has been involved with SOLVE cleanup events for the past 12 years as the zone captain in three areas along the coast from Warrenton to Brookings.
He and thousands of Oregonians will be mobilizing Saturday to scour beaches, rivers and parks all over the state before the fall rains wash debris into storm drains and out to sea.
Osis said that SOLVEs mission matches up well with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and said there is a tremendous partnership between the two entities because of the natural fit.
SOLVE is not just about beach cleanups, he said. They benefit urban and rural areas across Oregon and tackle everything from invasive species to illegal dumpsites, and are a tremendous asset to our state.
Presented by the Oregon Lottery, the SOLVE Beach and Riverside Cleanup is part of the International Coastal Cleanup and includes more than 100 volunteer-led cleanup and watershed restoration projects throughout the state.
Last year, more than 4,400 volunteers joined together to clear 64,400 pounds of debris and plant 5,596 native plants.
I am a native Oregonian and have lived on the coast nearly my entire life, Osis said. I feel extremely fortunate to have such spectacular natural areas so close to home. It is very rewarding to be in a position where I can help preserve and protect these natural spaces for present and future generations to enjoy.
Every corner of every street is connected to a river, to a watershed and to our ocean, said Kaleen Boyle, outreach coordinator with SOLVE. Each time you stop to help, be it by picking up a bottle cap or planting a tree, you impact that connection you make it a better one. This event gives all Oregonians a chance to take part in protecting the areas we hold dear.
Volunteers are necessary to make these events successful. Several years ago, during a spring beach cleanup, we had especially nasty weather, said Osis. I expected very few volunteers due to the horrible conditions and was astounded when we had a tremendous turn out.
When asked what the craziest thing his crew stumbled upon during a SOLVE volunteer event, Osis said, We had Buoy 6 wash ashore the morning of the Spring Beach Cleanup in 2008. It was dislodged from the river channel during the Great Coastal Gale of (December) 2007. My co- worker, not realizing what kind of buoy, offered to help load it in the back of the truck. I had to explain to him that it was larger than our truck!
Volunteers typically clean up cigarette filters, Styrofoam, plastic caps, lids, bottles and bags. Most plastics do not biodegrade, but instead break down into tiny pieces that can be harmful to fish, birds and marine mammals.
While these may seem like small, harmless items, said Joy Irby, program coordinator with SOLVE, cumulatively they can pose a large threat to a variety of wildlife.
Volunteers have always been the heart and soul of this cleanup, said Irby. We feel very fortunate to work year after year with people who love this state as much as we do.