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Date of Issue: July 09, 2008

Oh, say did you see... Star-spangled parade traverses Island

Treasure or trash?
Bill Stott searches in the early morning on July 4 for valuables among the trash on the shore in Bradenton Beach. Islander Photos: Lisa Neff
Nesting beach
A collection of chairs and toys left overnight on the beach. Rules prohibit people from leaving objects on the beach overnight during turtle nesting season, which runs from May through October.

Florence Parker had a paid holiday July 4, but she still worked.

Parker and a number of other people turned out on the Holmes Beach shoreline early July 4 to collect the trash left behind by the previous night’s revelers.

Early risers, some of them Island residents and some of them Island vacationers, also turned out to pick up trash in Anna Maria and Bradenton Beach, as well as at Kingfish Boat Ramp

“I think when you have crowds of people, you have trash,” Parker said. “But it’s not good to let it go out into the water.”

The nonprofit Ocean Conservancy estimates that about 61 percent of the trash found in bodies of water is generated by shoreline recreational activities compared to about 2 percent generated by dumping.

Wildlife, on shore and in the water, can be injured by litter and other waste - volunteers last year in the international cleanup found 834 birds, 730 fish, 453 invertebrates, 278 mammals and 87 reptiles entangled in debris. The entangled animals can choke, suffocate, starve, or fall victim to predators.

Richard Chambers was out collecting trash on the beach in Holmes Beach on July 4 by 6:30 a.m.

Andy Pates picked up litter in Anna Maria - two garbage bags filled with bottles, paper wrappers and plastic bags.

Meanwhile, on the beach close to where the fireworks show took place July 3, Bill Stott used a metal detector to search for valuables more precious than paper bags.

On last year’s morning after the show, Stott found about $15. This year, he said, he didn’t find more than a few coins.

“It’s just not as good,,” he said, “but they did leave a lot of trash.”

After a survey of the Island beach, Suzi Fox, executive director of Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch, said she saw litter in spots, but “all in all it’s not too bad.”

AMITW did report finding an abundance of furniture left overnight on the shore, creating potential obstacles for nesting sea turtles.

Also, near 65th Street in Holmes Beach, Fox received a report from HBPD of someone driving on the beach and then about 1,000 people gathered in the area as two loggerheads crawled from the Gulf of Mexico to nest.

Fox said police stayed in the area to protect the turtles until AMITW representatives arrived.