New funding supports BC cleanups

Coastal communities and First Nations are busy with a new round of beach cleanup projects with new funding from the Province’s Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative.

The Clean Coast, Clean Waters (CCCW) initiative partners with organizations to clean the province’s coastline. This year, eight projects were selected that are expected to clean more than 1,400 kilometres of shoreline and remove at least 70 derelict vessels, creating 630 new jobs in the process.

“Derelict vessels, plastics and ocean debris do not belong on our beaches or coastline. With the help of Clean Coast, Clean Waters projects, we have made significant progress towards the protection and restoration of our marine ecosystems by keeping these items off our beaches and food chain,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “These projects also highlight the importance of First Nations’ stewardship in safeguarding the natural beauty we enjoy.” 

The eight projects for this round of funding were selected through a merit-based process from organizations that bring their experience and dedication to the marine environment. Recipients for this round are Ocean Legacy Foundation, Coastal Restoration Society, Rugged Coast Research Society, Campbell River Association of Tour Operators and K’yuu Enterprise Corporation. Recipients must complete projects from the current round of funding by Feb. 29, 2024.

“This year, Surfrider Canada is proud to incorporate its public shoreline cleanups into CCCW,” said Lucas Harris, executive director of Surfrider Foundation Canada, which is contracted under Ocean Legacy Foundation. “Engaging volunteers allows people to participate in meaningful restoration activity in their own community.”

Recipients were awarded more than $10.5 million for projects that will focus on B.C.’s coastal communities. The funding is part of a $25-million provincial investment into shoreline cleanup and derelict vessel removal projects announced in May 2023, bringing the total funding under the initiative to $49.8 million.

The Clean Coast, Clean Waters initiative is an important part of the CleanBC Plastics Action Plan to reduce plastic waste and pollution in the environment. The initiative has ties to the Coastal Marine Strategy, which is being co-developed by coastal First Nations and Ministry of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship.

Public input collected in the 2023 “what we heard” report from Coastal Marine Strategy shows strong support for marine-debris cleanup initiatives. Top concerns from the public include marine pollution from abandoned vessels, plastics and polystyrene.

A second application window will open in early 2024 to distribute remaining funds. All interested parties are encouraged to apply. The application window will be open for a longer period to allow recipients to plan ahead.