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Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino counties are partnering with the nonprofit organization Leave No Trace to launch a coordinated campaign to reduce litter and waste along their coastlines.

The bilingual campaign will begin this month to educate visitors before and during their visits to the coast during the summer. Federal and state agencies, tribal partners, tourism advocates, and other community groups in the three counties will have access to Leave No Trace messaging resources in English and Spanish.

Leave No Trace is a movement and organization that promotes a set of outdoor ethics for conserving nature.

Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino counties have come together to launch this campaign against the backdrop of increasing visitors to California coastal beaches every year. Over 55,000 pounds of trash was picked up from the sensitive coastal environment across the three counties last year alone, according to a joint news release issued by the counties.

The Leave No Trace website provides social media materials in both English and Spanish to help spread the message about protecting the environment from pollution. (Images courtesy of LNT.org)

Trash not only hinders public enjoyment of creeks, bays and oceans but also negatively affects aquatic life and habitats and makes its way into the global ocean ecosystem where it can persist for thousands of years.

“COVID-19 pushed more residents outdoors and drew them to the coast as they looked for safe ways to recreate,” said Marin County Supervisor Dennis Rodoni, who initiated the three-county collaboration in 2020. “This stressed our limited visitor-serving infrastructure, creating an overflow of trash and waste like I have never seen before.”

Sonoma County Tourism has worked with Leave No Trace since April 2021 and was instrumental in forming the partnership between the three counties.

“We had a bit of a head start with the successful launch of our Leave No Trace campaign last year, and we are happy to leverage and coordinate our efforts with our neighbors from the north and south,” said Sonoma County Supervisor Lynda Hopkins. “Visitors don’t stop at county lines, nor does the flow of trash.”

Together, the counties will put out new messaging that complements Leave No Trace and other trash reduction efforts, and will focus on the importance of reducing trash and litter in coastal watersheds.