California’s Adopt-A-Beach program gives people of all ages the opportunity to learn about and actively participate in conserving coastal resources.  The Adopt-A-Beach program is I Love A Clean San Diego’s most popular volunteer program.  A statewide program funded by the California Coastal Commission, ILACSD coordinates over 10,000 volunteers annually through the Adopt-A-Beach (AAB) program.  Learn more in our bilingual quick facts flier!

Why is this program important?

California’s Adopt-A-Beach programThe Adopt-A-Beach program is not just about trash.  It’s about the need for clean oceans, shorelines, and waterways.  It is about Californians acting together to create lasting solutions to marine pollution.  Our oceans and waterways have been a dumping ground for man-made debris.  The harmful effects of marine debris are severe: negative economic and aesthetic impacts, harm and risk to human health and safety, injury and death to animals through entanglement and ingestion, and habitat destruction. 

What areas can be adopted?

I Love A Clean San Diego has recently expanded the program from over 100 beach areas to now include inland areas, in order to highlight the fact that almost 80% of marine debris originates from inland sources.  By adopting a canyon or park inland, a group is preventing that trash from making its way to the ocean and becoming marine debris. 

For a complete list of adoptable beaches and inland areas, click here.


Anyone can participate in the AAB program, as long as they agree to perform 3 cleanups during the course of one year.  Due to transportation issues, school groups are only required to perform 1 cleanup per year. 

Education component

As part of the program, ILACSD offers free education presentations to interested adopters as part of their first cleanup.  These presentations are usually on-site at the cleanup, and last about 20 minutes.  If your group is interested in a presentation, please contact us as soon as you know your cleanup date so we may schedule a staff member to attend. 


Follow these easy steps to ADOPT-A-BEACH

Visit the Adopt-A-Beach website to register and choose a site!  Agree to three cleanups a year and choose the dates for each cleanup.
Recruit friends, family members and co-workers to join you!  More volunteers mean cleaner beaches, as everyone is able to comb a larger area and collect much more trash, keeping our beaches and shorelines clean and healthy.  Don’t forget that all participants must sign a Waiver of Liability prior to the cleanup.  If you are in the city of San Diego, be sure to download the volunteer sign in sheet off the waivers page and have your participants sign in at the event.
Call Lauren Short (619.704.2772) at I Love A Clean San Diego one week before your cleanup to schedule a supply-pickup.  We will need to know the expected number of participants, and if you would like to borrow trash grabbers, bring a deposit in the form of check or cash for $5/grabber.  We recommend that you turn in signed waivers when you come to pick up supplies.
Clean your adopted area!  Dress for success by wearing closed-toed shoes, sunscreen, a hat, and gloves.  Distribute your cleanup materials to each volunteer. We recommend they work in groups of three, with one volunteer in charge of trash, one in charge of recycling, and one person tracking the type of debris as they go on the data card. Have each volunteer total their data card tallies on their card when they are done.
After your cleanup, total up all the data cards and report the grand total on the summary card, along with your volunteer count, weight of debris, hours, and mileage. Return any unused supplies, volunteer waivers, and summary card to ILACSD's office Mon - Fri from 9AM - 5PM. Login on the website to submit your accomplishments.

DIY Cleanups

I Love A Clean San Diego launched a “Do It Yourself Cleanup Program” in September 2012, installing three cleanup supply stations along popular sections of Mission Bay. Receptacles are housed in the gazebos at Playa Pacifica, De Anza Cove, and Crown Point Shores. Each receptacle contains trash bags, gloves, safety information, and instructions, allowing beachgoers the opportunity to conduct an impromptu beach cleanup. Check them out and participate in this simple and easy program that moves us one step further in keeping San Diego beaches clean! Funding for this program was provided through the California Coastal Commission Whale Tail License Plate grant program.

Zero Waste Cleanup Option

ILACSD introduced a Zero Waste option in December 2014 in efforts to not create any additional waste during our cleanups, and ultimately help San Diego meet waste diversion goals enacted by the State of California. Plastics including bags, gloves, and single use water bottles never biodegrade and threaten the environment and wildlife. I Love A Clean San Diego can lend groups reusable gloves, buckets, and a refillable water cooler to refill individual reusable water bottles. Buckets and trash grabbers require a $5 per item deposit, and coolers require a $15 deposit, both in cash or check that ILACSD holds and returns to our volunteers when the supplies are returned. Contact ILACSD to get more information or to check out a zero waste supply kit for your group!

Who do I contact with questions?

If you have any questions regarding the Adopt-A-Beach program please contact Moriah Saldaña, Community Program Coordinator at or 619.704.2772. 

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