The Adopt-A-Beach program exemplifies the NEC’s “Clean Beaches, Clean Water” efforts by combining volunteer enthusiasm with stewardship opportunities.

Adopt-A-Beach’s evolution began 37 years ago when the NEC received federal funding for its Humboldt Beach Beautification and Restoration project. The success of those early beach cleanups led to the creation of Adopt-A-Beach, now a statewide event coordinated by the California Coastal Commission. Moreover, this effort inspired the creation of the highly successful California Coastal Cleanup Day, part of International Coastal Cleanup Day. 

nid%3D3287%7Ctitle%3D%7Cdesc%3DSchool%20group%20cleaning%20up%20a%20beach%2C%20Coastal%20Cleanup%20Day%202012%7Clink%3DnoneCoastal cleanup efforts like Adopt-A-Beach are critical for slowing down the flow of trash from land to sea. An estimated 80 percent of marine debris originates on land, creating health and safety hazards for people and wildlife alike.

Joining the Adopt-A-Beach program is simple and has been received with great enthusiasm by local businesses, schools, family groups, and corporations across the state. Simply follow the directions below to participate in the Adopt-A-Beach program.

Adopt-A-Beach groups may be featured (with permission) on the NEC website and in our bi-monthly newspaper, EcoNews. Groups participating in upwards of three cleanups per year are also recognized by the California Coastal Commission.



STEP 1: Form your team and choose your beach.

Recruit family members, friends, and/or co-workers to join you in at least 3 clean-ups over the course of 1 year. The larger the group, the more ground can be covered and the cleaner and healthier we can keep our beaches! Next, visit the Adopt-A-Beach page of the NEC website and choose your favorite Humboldt County beach from our list.   

STEP 2: Sign and return our 4 required forms.

Print and sign the Adopt-A-Beach Agreement Form and the Coastal Cleanup Liability Form. The liability form must be completed by all cleanup participants. You will also need the Coastal Cleanup Data Card Form and the Tsunami Debris Form for the cleanup, for a total of 4 forms. Only one Tsunami Debris Data Form need be completed per cleanup event. All forms can be found on the NEC website, on the Clean Beaches Clean Water Forms link. All forms can also be obtained at the NEC office in Arcata. 

STEP 3: Clean up your beach!

If needed, coordinate with the NEC by phone (707-822-6918) or email ( to arrange for a cleanup supply pickup. The NEC will provide trash grabbers, gloves, and trash/recycling bags as necessary; however, bringing your own is strongly encouraged! An NEC staff member may also accompany Adopt-A-Beach teams for their first event in order to review cleanup and safety procedures. It is recommended that cleanup groups assign different volunteers to be in charge of trash pickup, recycling pickup, and data card/tsunami debris tracking for simplicity.

STEP 4: Share cleanup data and return supplies.

Following your cleanup, tally all cleanup debris and tsunami debris information on their respective data cards. Data cards will ask for a record of the approximate beach distance cleaned, time spent on the cleanup, the different types of debris collected, and approximate weight of collected trash/recycling. This information is very important in evaluating the health of our beach ecosystems over time. Finally, please return the data cards and any unused supplies to the NEC office for the use of future groups.


For more information, or to Adopt a Beach, contact our cleanup coordinator Madison Peters at or call the NEC office at 707-822-6918!