2020 DIY International Coastal Cleanup #CleanOn

To celebrate National Estuaries Week, CBA is teaming with Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup to ensure swimmable, fishable, trash-free waters in our beautiful estuary. Choctawhatchee Bay is the center of our community whose economy depends on her beautiful waters and abundant marine life. Whether you’re a fisherman, birder, paddleboarder, or restaurant owner, you understand the importance of our watershed. We’re empowering volunteers to hit sites in their community where trash is overlooked or misplaced. We welcome everyone in the Panhandle region to participate, as this will be a “Do-it-yourself” cleanup between September – October.

Cleanup Instructions:

1. Pick a Location:

  • Identify a safe location to clean where social distancing is easily achievable.
  • Avoid crowded sites by going during non-peak hours.

2. Download the Clean Swell app and create an account.

Ocean Conservancy created “Clean Swell”, a mobile app that enables volunteers to log the trash they find directly into the world’s largest marine debris database. This database is used by scientists, conservation groups, governments, and industry leaders to assess marine debris hotspots and stop marine debris at its source.

  • Be sure to “Allow” location services while using the app.

3. Gather Materials.

  • COVID-19 related Personal Protective Equipment (masks and gloves) and hand sanitizer
  • grabbers, trash bags, closed-toed shoes, and a reusable water bottle.
  • Your smartphone or tablet
  • Sunscreen, Bug spray, and Hand sanitizer

4. Rally your buddy or team on whatever day works best for you between September – October.

6. When logging into Clean Swell, please type in “Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance” in the “Group” section. This will be the only way our team can see what you’ve submitted and give us the opportunity to pull a report of all the volunteer data. Please don’t let your hard work go unnoticed!

7. Record your data as you clean up. It’s easiest to have one person designated as the data collector. Take a picture or two that you’d be willing to pass along when we put out a call for photos. Hashtags to use for your cleanup photos: #BasinAlliance, #CBAfortheBay, and #CleanOn

9. Review and submit your data. Follow steps on the Clean Swell app to review and submit your data. Data automatically submit to Ocean Conservancy’s database when you see a “Thank You!” screen.

10. Make sure your trash bags make it to a proper trash receptacle.

  • Properly dispose of items collected – Do not place trash in overflowing bins.
  • Immediately and thoroughly sanitize any gear.

11. Celebrate a job well done!

Recommended Cleanup Locations

The best recommendation we can make is to get outside and execute a cleanup in any way you can. No effort is too small because the smallest pieces of debris and microplastics can persist in our environment for long periods of time, harming both wildlife and humans. Cigarette butts and cigar tips, plastic fragments, food wrappers, bottle caps, straws, and Styrofoam pieces are some of the biggest culprits. So think simply and look closely for this cleanup!

Here are some location recommendations that might help you execute an impactful cleanup where you live:

  • Your neighborhood
  • Your surrounding shorelines (saltmarsh grasses can trap debris)
  • A local park
  • A beach

Learn more about #CleanOn ICC 2020


Mission, History, Initiatives


Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance is a non-profit organization responsible for sustaining healthy local waterways through monitoring, education, restoration, and research.

For 20 years, CBA has been the only nonprofit organization promoting water stewardship within the Choctawhatchee watershed, growing the network of supporters who join CBA’s mission to provide a future for these precious, natural resources.


In early 1996, representatives from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP); other state, federal and local government agencies; environmental organizations; and members of the business community met with concerned citizens and elected officials at Northwest Florida State College to discuss environmental quality and economic development. The sharing of concerns from participants along with the discussion on philosophies of ecosystem management from the FDEP and Eglin AFB sparked a partnership for sustainable development that is now called the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance of Northwest Florida State College (CBA).


The health of our water resources is the foundation for our identity and our economic security. Be it fishing, tourism, or our very quality of life, everything depends upon a healthy watershed. As environmental and anthropogenic threats continue to impact our critical natural areas, local citizens need to become active stewards of these precious resources to ensure that future generations can enjoy them. Community support aids CBA in acquiring funding that will make a positive change in our environment for the long term.

CBA utilizes public awareness, public involvement, and collaboration to:

  • Promote optimal utilization of the basin resources through citizen empowerment.
  • Engage citizens in practicing environmentally sound land management.
  • Involve government agencies to act and reflect public needs, desires, and values.
  • Utilize public support and citizen involvement to initiate technical projects and coordinate efforts between citizens, business owners, environmental organizations, and government agencies to solve specific problems.

Advisory Committee 

Click here for Advisory Committee member biographies.

Name                         Position Email
Dennis Peters Chair dpeters@gsrcorp.com
Monica Autrey Treasurer/Secretary mautrey@dwuinc.com
Tim Norris Advisory Member timnorris@earthlink.net
Julie Terrell Advisory Member terrellj@nwfsc.edu
Joe Nacchia Advisory Member joe@emeraldcoastpubs.com
Dawn Pack Advisory Member packd@mail.okaloosa.k12.fl.us
Mitch Shank Advisory Member cshankcm@aol.com
Mark Shaeffer Advisory Member mshaeffer@baskervilledonovan.com
James Ward Advisory Member jward3184@aol.com
Dr. David Schjott Advisory Member schjottd@nwfsc.edu
Chester Kroeger Advisory Member chester@fudpucker.com
Ross Hamilton Ex-Officio Member hamiltor@nwfsc.edu
Mike Flynt Ex-Officio Member mflynt6905@aol.com


Click here for staff biographies.

Name Position Email
Alison McDowell Director mcdowel2@nwfsc.edu
Brittany Tate Senior Grant Manager & Education Coordinator tateb@nwfsc.edu
Brandy Foley Monitoring Coordinator foleyb@nwfsc.edu
Rachel Gwin Restoration Coordinator gwinr@nwfsc.edu
Erika Zambello Communications and Marketing Coordinator zambelle@nwfsc.edu
Riley Timbs Ecology Technician timbsr@nwfsc.edu
Amanda Briant Education Technician brianta@nwfsc.edu
Alison Jean Education Technician jeana1@nwfsc.edu


November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

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