Do a cleanup of your own!

Where to go?

Any and every beach needs to be cleaned up! Our cleanups will focus on Mad River Beach and the North Jetty.

Mad River Beach:

Leaving from HSU, take LK Wood Blvd North. After 0.8 miles there will be a fork in the road. Keep left at the fork and take a bridge across US 101. Take a right at the stop sign after the bridge onto St. Louis Rd. At the traffic circle take the 2nd exit onto Spear Ave. At the second stop sign, turn left onto Upper Bay Rd. Take the 3rd right onto Mad River Rd. Stay on Mad River Rd until it dead ends into the Mad River Beach parking area. You can park your car anywhere in the lot at the end of the road. For this site it would be best to walk north toward the mouth of the Mad River. The river mouth is roughly three miles up the beach and is likely to bring trash from upstream to the beach, making it an optimal place to collect garbage.

Get Directions

North Jetty:

From HSU, take the 14th Street entrance onto 101 S. Follow 101 S to CA-255S/ Samoa Blvd, where you will turn right to take CA-255 towards Samoa. Samoa Blvd becomes New Navy Base Rd. You can park in the parking lot, which will be on the right hand side of the road. Parking is also allowed at the pull outs along the side of the road. The whole stretch of beach needs cleaning, so don’t worry about which way to walk!

Get Directions

How to walk

If you are walking alone, it is best to walk in U-shaped curves up and down the beach, starting at the back dunes or parking lots, walking toward the water, then back up towards the dunes. This method may take longer but you will be more efficient at finding all of the trash in the area. If you have a large group, the beach can be walked in a type of swath method with people evenly spaced and perpendicular to the water line. The focus of a beach cleanup is to document and remove as much debris as possible, so it is important utilize a walking pattern that will allow you to locate the most debris in the shortest amount of time.

When to Go

The best time to do a beach cleanup is at low tide. During low tide you will be able to collect debris left from previous high tides and there will also be more beach to walk on.

To find times for low tides, access your local tides table at:

Click on either Samoa or Trinidad Harbor, then select the month you would like to look at, the first day you would like to see, and how many days you would like to view simultaneously. Once you have filled out your preferences, press “Get Tides.”.

What you’ll need

Data sheets , walking shoes, water bottles, snacks, sun-screen, rain coats and jackets, re-usable trash bags or buckets, gardening gloves or other hand protection.

What to do with the trash you find

Mark the items you found on your data sheet! The data sheets are broken down into categories by the material (e.g., plastic, metal, rubber). They are also separated into categories based on the likely source of the debris. It is best to use tally marks for easy counting and marking throughout your

If you find something too large to remove please contact us and the local authorities.

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office (707) 445 – 7251

US Coast Guard California District Command Center (510) 437 -3701

Source Categories


This includes trash that has been left by recreational beach users. We expect that this trash would have spent little to no time (maybe an hour or two) in the water. A plastic water bottle, for example, would be considered land-based if it showed no signs of being in the marine environment. Such signs may include intact paper labels (paper tends to degrade quickly in the water), no sand and/or salt water inside the bottle, and no barnacles or marine life growing on it. Other more obvious items would be cigarette butts, napkins, shoes and clothing.

Fishing Industry:

This includes trash and other debris that has washed ashore as a result of the fishing industry. Possible items include nets, rope, crab/lobster pots, fishing line and lures, buoys and floats or any other gear that appears to be used for fishing.

Tsunami Debris:

This is debris that is likely to have originated from the tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, 2011. At this point in time, much of the debris that entered the ocean via the tsunami has traveled across to the eastern Pacific and has begun to be deposited on our coasts. Signs of tsunami-related debris would include Japanese labels or markings and evidence that the debris has spent an extended amount of time in the water. Such evidence may include degradation of the item and possibly growth of algae or other marine life. This type of debris may be the hardest to recognize, and may range from ordinary items (bottles, cans, etc.) to large pieces of debris. Confirmed tsunami debris on the west coast has included floating docks, motorcycles, and soccer balls. If you are unsure of what you have found please contact us and we will be happy to help.


This category is for any debris that doesn’t fit into one of the above categories. If you cannot identify the debris as belonging to one of the set categories, you should list it here. Types of debris that fall into this category can include bottles with no labels, plastic fragments, scraps of metal.

Where to enter your data:

You can enter you data on this very website! Visit Record Debris to get started! You will be asked to enter the location and time of your trash discovery or cleanup, as well as your name and email address. This contact information will provide us with a way to follow up with you should we have questions.