Many beach goers don’t know that the beautiful, clean, seaweed-free look of the beach is not natural. Beaches are naturally covered with beach wrack- piles of organic materials washed ashore such as seaweed, animal remains, marine algae, and terrestrial plants.
Beach wrack serves as a vital resource to beach creatures that depend on it for food and habitat, especially shore birds. Beach grooming is the wide spread practice of removing beach wrack in order to make beaches more attractive and enjoyable for beach goers.
Although creating more aesthetically pleasing beaches, beach grooming actually damages the ecosystems of the beaches we love! Beach grooming affects the food chain by reducing the abundance and availability of food for animals. It contributes to beach erosion- the loss of large quantities of sand resulting in coarser sand. It also disturbs the breeding site of many animals including sea turtles. Overall, beach grooming results in the loss of biodiversity and biomass of beaches.
One benefit of beach grooming is that it removes trash from the beach such as plastics. However, we can make an effort to keep our beaches clean by participating in beach clean ups and by making the conscious effort to clean up after our visits to the lovely shore. Another alternative to beach grooming includes seasonal grooming. Support biodiversity and love the natural beauty of our beaches!