Kudos to JW Marriott for initiating a December 14th beach clean-up where they were joined by the crew from Marco Island Watersports. Jamie Bowden, JW’s Director of Beach Experience, is the coordinator of the quarterly beach clean-up and has been very successful in engaging his neighbors from the Marco Island Watersports to pitch in the effort to keep the beach clean. Both are visible on the beach 7 days a week and talk to many vacationing families. Also thanks to all the members of the beach community who also joined in the one-hour morning clean-up.
Mary Aronin, a member of the Beach and Coastal Resources Advisory Committee (BACR) concentrated her clean-up efforts at the South Beach area where she shared the following: “There was a lot of garbage at the Cape Marco end of the beach. One spot in particular had 6 Coors beer cans, a vodka bottle, a berry juice can, a Coors beer box, plastic cups, plastic straws, a man’s shirt, pants and belt all in a heap. I picked up all the trash but I didn’t want to touch the clothes even though I had gloves. My bag wasn’t big enough. I told the beach patrol officer and he gathered and disposed of the clothes. Gross! He also filled in a couple very large holes that other beachgoers left in two other areas closer to the water.” Similar discarded beer cans/bottles and assorted plastic items were also collected from the dunes near the Winterberry beach public access.
A regular beach walker also had a dog report and shared her frustration: “I approached this person saying that is against the law to have a dog on the beach. She didn’t care, and I have found this attitude of others with dogs on the beach. I stopped calling the police. I recall another person I approached months ago saying to me, ‘I’ve been bringing my dog to the beach for 2 years.’”
Note: Section 54-36(b) Regulation of Use and Conduct on the Beach States: “it shall be unlawful for any person owning or having under their control any animal to permit such animal upon the beach, except service dogs accompanying persons with special needs shall be allowed on the beach at all times.”
Thanks to Karen and Tom Corriveau of Marco Island, regular beach walkers turned wildlife rescuers who stopped to rescue an injured Loon. They walk the beach every day and also pick-up trash along the way. The loon was transported to the von Arx Wildlife Animal Hospital by Beach Steward Brittany Piersma. JW also donated used beach towels to Piersma for her wildlife rescues.
According to Piersma, just stopping to rescue an injured bird is a big help. However, if you can’t stop and rescue, please make that call to report the injured wildlife by calling von Arx Wildlife Hospital at Conservancy of Southwest Florida at 239-262-2273, 8 AM – 8 PM, Eastern Time, seven days a week.
Brittany Piersma, a Winter Shorebird biologist and steward, is on Marco’s beach most mornings educating the public about the birds; chatting with them and also trying to count the large flocks and looking for banded birds. Sometimes she has a volunteer with her and this helps in keeping people from walking through resting flocks of birds.
Earlier in the week, (December 9th), Paul Van Gils, his wife and dog Polar from Port Charlotte took their 42’ sailboat for a dry-run preparing for a trip to the Baltic Sea in the spring. They encountered steering failure amidst 5-7’ waves off the tip of Sand Dollar Island. Towboat US from Naples was called, but also capsized while attempting to tow the sailboat. The sailboat quickly ran aground and also capsized. The sailboat is still at the tip of Sand Dollar Island waiting for repairs.
It was a very busy week at the beach and there is always something newsworthy.