Friends of Padre: Cleanup Results

The 20th Annual Billy Sandifer Big Shell Cleanup Report 2015

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Due to all the cold, wind, and rain I’ve been more concerned about this cleanup than usual. Then about 2 weeks before the cleanup date, our long term forecast got worse. The night before the cleanup we were forecasted 50 degrees, 25 mph East winds and rain from Friday night through Sunday night, nonstop. What worried me worse were those East winds. East winds like that are almost a sure bet to push the tide to, and sometimes beyond, the sand dunes. After meeting with PINS personnel Thursday, we all decided if the National Weather Service came out with a coastal flood advisory we would cancel the event. If they didn’t, we’d have the cleanup as planned. Saturday morning we were stunned to arise to a light North wind and light drizzle. But we were still concerned about the forecasted high East winds. At Malaquite winds were light but tides were high and there were 13’ seas. We decided to play it on the side of prudence and sent our sections out in smaller groups than normal and each group had a radio. We sent the first group to the South with instructions to stop and turn around if the tide got too high. We got to the 22 mile beach before being forced to the North. Each group to the North stopped when the one at the 22 mile did and started picking up trash as they headed back. Based on the weather forecast it’s amazing that 400 volunteers showed up and stuck it out. We picked up 25 tons of trash. Not as much as in some other years, but the tide beat us. We’ve now removed 2,336,000 pounds of thrash.  The loyalty of our volunteers fascinates me. Good weather or bad weather, they just stand out there and fight it; as if it were a life or death battle while elsewhere others seem intent on tearing up everything they can. And of course there are our sponsors without whom this and similar events could not go on at all. Getting the word out is a big deal and we’d like to thank outdoor writer, David Sikes, and the Corpus Christi Caller Times, Everett and Pam Johnson of Texas Saltwater Fishing Magazine, the Island Moon, Saltwater Angler as well as other publications who put in a good word for us. Thanks also to the board of Friends of Padre and all the coordinators and section leaders. I cannot say enough about the great folks at PINS NPS, Coastal Bend Audubon Society, Sharkathon, David Webb and Spooner Lures, Ben Beaty, Stephen and Donna Gregory, and Mr. David Ainsworth and the continued invaluable help of Ainsworth Trucking Company. Mr. Leon McNinch of the Ruth Parr Sparks Foundation, CCA Corpus Christi Chapter, Daniel Dain and Domino’s Pizza, H. E. B, as well as Gambler Graphics. A big thank you to Michael Laskowski Sr. and Jr. of Track Work Inc. Railroad Maintenance of San Antonio who again furnished volunteers with work gloves. Remember that the speed limit on PINS changed from 15 mph to 25 mph on March 1 and nesting turtles won’t be too long behind that. Take care of yourself and each other, be safe and have a good season. If we don’t leave any there won’t be any.   Billy Sandifer Photo Courtesy of NPS

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