OCEAN CITY — Just a month after being formally approved by the Mayor and Council, the Ocean City Surf Club’s “Adopt Your Beach” program is already making great strides with roughly two thirds of the beaches already claimed and more than a few already cleaned.
Last month, the Ocean City Mayor and Council approved the Ocean City Surf Club’s “Adopt Your Beach” program, a grassroots effort to have the private sector supplement the town’s beach cleaning efforts. The club is soliciting volunteers from schools and businesses to church groups and condo associations and other organizations to take ownership, or more appropriately stewardship, of “their” beach.
Under the program, a group or organization will literally adopt a section of beach in Ocean City, maybe a single block where their business or condo association is located, or even a group of two or three blocks. Already the initiative is taking off just weeks after it was formally approved by the Mayor and Council.
According to Ocean City Surf Club representative Effie Cox, who is administering the program, already 104 of the 147 streets have been adopted. The club is now in the process of getting the remaining 43 blocks or parcels adopted, most of which are in the high-rise row area from 92nd Street to 118th Street.
The organizations or individuals would be required to cleanup and monitor their adopted beaches with at least four organized beach cleanups from April to November, although year-round monitoring would be encouraged. The volunteers would document the types of trash and debris collected and ultimately hauled away by the town’s Public Works department and that information could be used to identify certain problem areas.
Cox said despite the program’s recent formal adoption and less than stellar weather this early spring, already many of the groups that have adopted sections of beach have been out there cleaning them.
“We’ve had quite a few clean the beach already,” she said. “It’s been amazing the stories I’ve heard.”
The Ocean City Surf Club has already implemented a few new wrinkles in the program, including an informal group or street of the month contest. Although many of the groups that have adopted their beaches have already begun cleaning them, the Mother’s Cantina crew has already set the bar fairly high, according to Cox. Mother’s Cantina adopted the beach at nearby 28th Street and began cleaning it last week, collecting over 60 pounds of trash and debris.
“We started at the entrance to the 28th Street beach where most of the trash was caught around and in the dunes,” said Mother’s Cantina owner Neely James, who owns and operate the popular restaurant and bar with her husband and chef Ryan. “We used grabbers to reach in and pick up a lot of plastic trash from inside the fences and we combed the beach and walkway down to the Boardwalk.”
James said the volume collected included a wide range of trash and debris.
“A lot of the trash included cigarette butts, take-out food trash and cans,” she said. “Some broken pieces of fencing and paint scrapings from the oceanfront houses and hotels were also included in the trash, which totaled approximately 60 pounds.”