LONG BEACH, Miss.--The weather is a bit on the cool side now, but walking and playing on the beach near the city of Long Beach is again a possibility. The Miss. Dept. of Environmental Quality says tests performed on water on the beach that stretches from Oak Gardens to the west and Girard to the east show it is now safe.
The beach was one of several that closed in all three coastal counties following Hurricane Isaac. With the repoening of this patricular beach, the total still closed is seven. The Mississippi Beach Monitoring Program, associated with the University of Southern Mississippi, maintains a website that lists all closures.
The seven beaches still closed have been shut down since Aug. 31 because of unsafe bacteria levels in the water.
The announcement comes just one day after Gov. Phil Bryant named Oct. 20 Mississippi Coastal Cleanup Day. The event is in its 24th year and was not initiated because of Isaac, though leftover debris from the storm will likely be a target for the group.
A news release said the day brings together volunteers from Harrison, Hancock and Jackson counties for three hours, beginning at 8 a.m. and is held in conjunction with International Coastal Cleanup, a worldwide volunteer effort.
“Clean, litter-free coastlines are essential to the health of Mississippi’s marine environments and our tourism industry,” said Bryant. “I encourage people to participate in this year’s Mississippi Coastal Cleanup and help make it a great success.”
In addition, the Mississippi Coastal Cleanup will continue its partnership with Mississippi Power’s Renew Our Rivers program. The Renew Our Rivers cleanups will take place October 10 and 11.
Bryant signed a proclamation this week.
The rest of the news release for Cleanup Day:
Three ways to register: 1) Register online at www.mscoastalcleanup.org, 2) Download the registration form from the website and fax it back, or 3) Call one of these numbers to request a form and sign up to volunteer: 467-9048 in Hancock County; 214-1405 in Harrison County; 938-6612 in Jackson County; and 875-9057 for the Barrier Islands. Although online registration closes Monday, Oct. 8, you can still register after the deadline by downloading the registration form at mscoastalcleanup.org.
On cleanup day, zone captains will be stationed at each cleanup site in bright yellow T-shirts to direct volunteers and give them supplies such as trash bags, data cards to record the debris collected, as well as bottled water compliments of the Beverage Association of nMississippi, and a free reusable lunch sack provided by Chevron Pascagoula Refinery (while supplies last). Following the cleanup, volunteers must present their meal ticket at Jones Park in Gulfport in the big tent north of the boat launch, where they will enjoy a free lunch courtesy of RPM/Domino’s Pizza and CCA Mississippi from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. only o event day.
In Jackson County, lunch for volunteers will be held at the Estuarine Education Center at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Gautier between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. only the day of the event compliments of The Shed Barbeque & Blues Joint. Volunteers in Hancock County are invited for hotdogs and drinks starting at 11 a.m. at Washington St. Pavilion on the beach in Bay St. Louis, courtesy of the Office of Congressman Steven Palazzo and the Bay St. Louis Rotary Club. During the 2011 International Coastal Cleanup, more than 600,000 volunteers in 108 countries removed more than 9 million pounds of debris from the ocean, rivers, lakes and waterways. In Mississippi, more than 3,000 volunteers pitched in and removed 70 tons of trash.
“Hurricane Isaac is a reminder of the major impact marine debris can have on our shoreline,” Lauren Thompson, state coordinator for the Mississippi Coastal cleanup, said. “The Mississippi Coastal Cleanup is an opportunity for volunteers of all ages to join together and play a role in helping to clean up and restore our beaches and coastal waterways.” For more information visit the official Mississippi Coastal Cleanup Web site at www.mscoastalcleanup.org or call the info line at 1-877-BEACH 05 (1-877-232-2405).