Photo credit: Rick Kane

Help clean up our shorelines.

The Watershed Center is a regional leader in beach, shoreline, streambank, and in-water clean-ups that help remove litter from our water. We host public clean-up events, help private groups conduct their own clean-ups, and partner with other groups in clean-up activities. Starting in 2021, The Watershed Center has partnered with dozens of organizations across the Great Lakes basin for the Great Lakes CleanUP, a coordinated beach and nearshore clean project to protect sensitive habitats and drinking water sources in the Great Lakes. Over the past two years, 400 volunteers have removed 3,060 pounds of trash from our Grand Traverse Bay shoreline and nearshore areas.

Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup.

In 2022, The Watershed Center joined the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup, a joint effort between Pollution Probe and the bi-national Council of the Great Lakes Region aimed at taking action to clean up the waterways of the Great Lakes region. Through this partnership the generous funding and support provided by Midwest retailer Meijer, we will be using autonomous robots to clean up beaches (BeBot) and nearshore waterbodies (PixieDrone) starting in 2023. The litter collected using this innovative technology will be analyzed and categorized, and valuable data will be gleaned to help protect this region.

BeBot & PixieDrone Video

The BeBot is a 100% electric, eco-friendly beach cleaning robot that mechanically sifts sand to remove plastic waste and other debris without harming the local environment.

The PixieDrone is a floating, remote-controlled waste collector. that targets floating waste in all forms.

Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup Events

The following events are open to the public:

Contact Heather by email at to learn more or register for an event.
Many thanks to the following beach clean up sponsors:
For more information on clean up activities, contact Grand Traverse Bay WATERKEEPER® Heather Smith at or 231.935.1514 x3.

We connect people to what makes this region special - clean water.