Volunteers Needed for “Sift the Sand” Habitat Restoration at Albany Beach, First Large-Scale Effort in East Bay EBRPD News


On October 8, 2017, teams of volunteers will deep-clean Albany Beach by sifting harmful microplastics out of the sand to prevent them from leaching into the marine habitat of San Francisco Bay.

This technique, using static-charge filtration screens to attract tiny microplastics, is being used on beaches around the world. “Sift the Sand” will be the first large-scale effort in the East Bay.

Volunteers will learn hands-on beach restoration techniques from Marc Ward of Sea Turtles Forever, an Oregon based nonprofit devoted to the conservation of marine turtles and the protection of their nesting and foraging habitats. Ward is the inventor of the patented “static-charge filtration screen” that will be used at the event. The events a great opportunity for volunteers to help improve wildlife habitat and connect with nature.

A 2015 survey conducted by Clean Oceans International found that plastics and polystyrene foam made up the largest percentage of debris on beaches around the San Francisco Bay. At Albany Beach specifically, the data showed that there was approximately 924 g of plastic for every 12.8 kg of sand - or 7.22% of the beach. This is comparable to the amount recorded at other San Francisco Bay beaches. [Albany Marine Debris Survey Report, Jan. 2015, Clean Oceans International, Santa Cruz CA]

“Sift the Sand” is funded by a 2017 Alameda Countywide Clean Water Program Community Stewardship Grant to the Albany Landfill Dog Owners Group (ALDOG). The event is a collaboration between ALDOG and the East Bay Regional Park District. Albany Beach is located within McLaughlin Eastshore State Park, which is operated by the Park District.

“Marine debris, especially plastic, is very harmful to the ecosystem,” noted East Bay Regional Park District Recreation Supervisor Jeremy Saito. “Once microplastics are introduced into the bay, they can be ingested by marine life.”

According to Mary Barnsdale of ALDOG “Over 50 volunteers have already signed up to volunteer including a team from St. Mary’s College High School in Albany and many students from Cal State East Bay.

Volunteers are needed from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and/or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on October 8. To sign up, email or call (510) 473-2626.

The East Bay Regional Park District is a system of beautiful public parks and trails in Alameda and Contra Costa counties east of San Francisco Bay, established in 1934. The system comprises 121,000 acres in 73 parks including over1,250 miles of trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and nature learning.

Volunteers help improve wildlife habitat and connect with nature

Volunteers help improve wildlife habitat and connect with nature

Dave Mason, Public Information Supervisor
(510) 544-2217