The Texas General Land Office has been sending this message across the state for thirty-one years, and Texans have responded. Since the program began back in 1986, there have been more than 523,000 volunteers remove more than 9,590 tons of trash from Texas beaches.
Due to tide patterns in the Gulf of Mexico, trash dumped anywhere in the gulf is likely to end up on a Texas beach. Volunteers record information such as the source and type of debris collected on data cards. This data has been instrumental in the passage of international treaties and laws aimed at reducing the amount of offshore dumping.
Keeping Texas beaches clean and safe is an economic as well as environmental priority. Coastal tourism, a $7 billion industry, and commercial fishing, a $1.9 billion business, demand clean beaches and a healthy gulf to thrive.
TCOON is managed through cooperative agreements between the Texas General Land Office, the Texas Water Development Board, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The network is operated and maintained by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Ocean Service.
The Texas Beach Watch Program collects water samples from approximately 167 stations along the Texas coast in Aransas, Brazoria, Cameron, Galveston, Jefferson, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, and San Patricio counties. Samples are collected weekly during the peak beach season from May through September and every other week from October through April. In March, weekly samples are collected for Beach Watch stations on all gulf beaches to coincide with spring break.