Ikkatsu Project: Cleaning the Beaches of Southern Kuiu
Another very high 5 goes out to Ken Campbell and his team at the Ikkatsu Project for all their hard work and dedication to raising our understanding of micro-plastics and keeping our wilderness beaches clean
This past July marked the fourth year of Ikkatsu Project activity at Cape Decision. The main objectives of the 2021 program were to continue the established deposition survey at the Landing and to set up another study beach on the west side of the island, as well as to conduct debris surveys on several remote wilderness beaches near the south end of Kuiu Island and clean accumulated debris from target beaches. Survey results will be shared to the national NOAA database and are available online for use by research partners. (No micro-plastic studies were on the calendar for this year, and water sampling was not done as part of the 2021 program.)
The multi-year deposition study that was first begun in 2018 at the Landing involves an effort by volunteers to ensure complete debris removal, collecting and counting each item found, until the target beach is free of all plastic and other debris. With each successive visit, it is certain that anything collected has come ashore in the intervening time. By repeating this process each year, we are beginning to have a better understanding of how debris travels and the rate at which it builds up on shore. With the addition this year of a new deposition study beach in Comma Cove, it will be possible to use same-time data to compare impacts on each of the separate beaches.
The 2021 surveys and cleanup efforts involved Ikkatsu Project volunteers as well as lighthouse personnel. A total of nineteen individuals worked on various aspects of the program over a three-week period from July 6th – 24th, 2021. Beaches that were visited this year included Comma Cove, Wolf Track Beach and Howard Cove and the total weight of the debris that was collected was 913 pounds. A breakdown of what was found and where each survey was conducted are up on the Ikkatsu Project website. Preliminary findings for the Landing deposition study, from 2018-2021, will be posted in January.
Another big story this year was the success of the Ikkatsu Project film, DECISION, a cinematic look at the work that is being done on the beaches and at the lighthouse. Featured in a half-dozen film festivals and chosen as part of the Paddling Film Festival World Tour, it's a great look at the place and the people that make it so special. Thanks to Beau Gaughran for the beautiful images and to Werner Paddles for their generous support; the 12-minute film is available to view for free online.
Looking forward to 2022, the big plan is that this is the year that we get a larger boat out to the area for long enough to gather everything we've collected to this point and get it to a landfill. Since 2018, we've been able to move more than 1000 pounds out by boat and see it properly disposed of in Wrangell but there is almost two tons still out there, just waiting for transport. Getting this done is a priority, along with continuing the deposition research on both designated beaches, and we are looking forward to another great summer of volunteers, collaboration and cleaner shorelines.