Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Collection Report April 25, 2012

Wednesday, April 25. 9:15AM. 55 degrees, bright sun, hour after low tide. Had been away for two weeks, as I spent the previous week visiting The Mouse with the family. First missed week on-site since June last year! So, what would the extra week's worth of tides bring in the way of flotsam?
This, and... well, not a lot more. This can was actually among the most interesting finds of the day. More on why down below. But as you can see by this shot...
...the beach was again a clean slate. The little wrack that did exist (mostly in Zone N) was old, dried reeds from 2011 still rolling around:
I've gone on for some months about the changes at Bay View over the past year. But with spring now "sprung," this image tell the story the best:
In an age of global sea-level rise and beach loss, the dunes at Bay View are actually advancing. 20 feet down the beach slope just in the past year! That can only happen if the energy of the sea lets it happen. A few bad waves, and you get this:
The energy coming in here is just weaker than it was a year ago. Waves aren't making it as high up the slope. And they're carrying far less detritus -- natural and manmade -- than before. The best logic behind this is that the seafloor is shifting. Sand bars have reared their heads at Bay View during very low tides. Natural buffers, absorbing the fury of the ocean -- and blocking seafloor debris. For how long? Don't know.

But for now, they cause this result. Zone N:
31 finds:
  • Building materials: 4 (asphalt)
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 4 (3 foam scraps, 1 cup bottom)
  • Fishing misc.: 0
  • Food-related plastics: 3 (2 wrappers, 1 straw)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 2 (can, can scrap)
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 6 (2 toys, tennisball, package scrap, 2 scraps <1")
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 11
  • Paper/wood: 1 (paper scrap)
  • Misc./unique: 0
A few locally lost toys for my daughter's collection. A few scraps. A few thoughtless smokers. A rotted can...

Quickly over to Zone S:
9 finds:
  • Building materials: 0
  • Foam/Styrofoam: 2
  • Fishing misc.: 3 (fishing line, shotgun shell, shell wadding)
  • Food-related plastics: 1 (bottlecap)
  • Food-related metal/glass: 0
  • Nonfood/unknown plastics: 0
  • Cigarette filters/plastics: 2
  • Paper/wood: 1 (bedpost finial)
  • Misc./unique: 0
A bedpost finial? Really?

So the game here has changed. But back to that aluminum can.
You've surely seen those enviromentalist site lists, showing how long things take to break down:
If you say "It takes 200 years for an aluminum can to break down!" and I can find one that's rotting away after ~6 months, you risk losing me for everything else you try to say. We all love round numbers; but we're a little more partial to our own eyes.

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