As we move forward into the new year, it’s important to look back and reflect on the progress we’ve made and the work that still lies ahead. Despite yet another tumultuous year, 2022 saw some great things happening at Surfrider Foundation Washington. Chapters began meeting in person and holding regular events again. We were able to host and participate in conferences and webinars, learning and sharing what we know. And we made steady progress on protecting and enjoying our state’s incredible coast! Here’s a look at some of our major achievements and efforts from the past year:

Plastic Pollution

Chapters organized over 55 cleanups, collectively removing over 6000 lbs of debris from local beaches and waterways, including over 30,000 cigarette butts! These cleanups not only help to protect wildlife and improve the aesthetics of our beaches, but they also bring together communities and raise awareness about the importance of marine conservation. In addition to hosting regular local cleanups, many chapters participated in statewide efforts, including Washington Coastal Cleanup Day, July 5th Cleanup, International Coastal Cleanup Day, and a regional Make a Difference Day Cleanup! It’s incredible to see so many different organizations and volunteers showing up to make a difference in their communities.

One of South Sound’s monthly beach cleanups

Clean Water

Blue Water Task Force volunteers collected over 200 water quality samples, working with local agencies and partners to test our waters for harmful bacteria and making sure our communities know when it’s safe to play in the water. Not only do chapters make sure recreators know if it’s safe to swim, they are the stewards on the ground that are often the first people to notice a problem, identify its cause, and work towards solutions.

We also hosted a successful and well-attended webinar discussing recreation ecology and the threats of human waste to our coastal environment, particularly coastal waters. Presenters provided an overview of current research, including case studies specific to Olympic National Park, how current methods of disposing human waste leads to threats to human health and water quality, and we discussed options for better practices that outdoor enthusiasts should consider.

Sunset sampling by one of our dedicated Blue Water Task Force volunteers


Coast & Climate

Last year’s legislative session was a short one, but that didn’t stop us from achieving a coastal victory for eelgrass and kelp in Washington! While our big plastics and climate change bills didn’t make it, we set the stage for a successful legislative session this year, and have high hopes for some big wins in 2023! Stay tuned for ways you can support robust action on climate change and plastic pollution!

Eelgrass is essential habitat that’s declined dramatically in the Puget Sound

Beach access

The OPC and Northwest Straits chapters have both been heavily involved in local beach access campaigns, working diligently to ensure these special places remain open and accessible to all. Beach access is one of our 5 key initiatives because we believe the beach belongs to everyone, and everyone deserves to enjoy the incredible coastal places we love.

Volunteers pick up trash at Cherry Point


Ocean Protection

Earlier this year, NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary hosted the Olympic Coast Ocean Acidification Sentinel Site (OASeS) Symposium, which involved over two days of presentations and storytelling from Tribes, federal and state agencies, researchers, resource managers, and the general public. The purpose was to share information and identify data gaps, resource needs, and solutions to the threat of ocean acidification, which our waters are particularly vulnerable to.

The Olympic Coast means many things to many people

Cascadia Conference

After two years of virtual gatherings, this year marked our return to our in-person annual leadership conference. Chapter leaders from across the PNW convened in Newport, Oregon for a weekend of coastal converstions and good vibes, and left feeling stoked to be part of this organization and energized from connecting with so many of the amazing humans that make up the Surfrider fam! Looking forward to what the next year of coastal activism brings!

So stoked to be getting back together, for real this time!

As we look ahead to the coming year, we will continue our fight to ensure our state’s precious marine resources thrive for generations to come. We hope you’ll join us in protecting (and enjoying!) everything our state has to offer. I know we say it all the time, but it bears repeating – this work could not be possible without the passion, dedication, time, energy, and creativity of our grassroots network. Every social media post, every beach cleanup, every water sample collected, every paddle with friends, every wave caught – these small actions add up, resulting in the rising tide of activism and achievement made possible by volunteers and members like you. From the bottom of our salty hearts, thank you!