Hunting Migratory Mylar Balloons In Delaware

We held our last weekend beach clean up on Mother’s Day.  It was a windy, rainy, crappy day, but that didn’t stop the mylar balloons from blitzing the surf and emerging from the ocean to live in the dunes.  We drove the beaches formKeybox to Faithful Steward looking for balloon signs, and there were plenty.  The mylar balloons as they move up the beach towards the dunes, leave a distinct track.  It is easy to spot them if you know what to look for.

 

Parks mylar balloon fencing keeps them out of the dunes.

Some were jammed up against the balloon fence put up by parks to contain these invasive creatures.  After all we don’t need anymore invasive species growing in the dunes.  Some of the dune fence posts managed to tie a few up by their tails.  These were easy to collect, it was almost as if someone put them there on purpose.

When hunting for mylar balloons we look for the distinct drag marks along the beach.  They use the wind to push them up the beach and into the dunes, where they will reside forever.  Once they get established they can start to produce mylar mats.  These will destroy anything they cover and can spread.  We collect them and if they are still blown up, stab them with a knife to finish them off.  When we have a big blow like we did over the weekend we find a lot of these balloons.

We caught and killed over forty mylar balloons on Mother’s day.  Nothing says let’s celebrate mother earth than killing her worst nightmare. On our way back from disposing of the day’s mylar balloon carcasses we saw one fly over the dunes and get hit by two vehicles as it crossed route 1.  That one escaped to kill some wildlife in the near distant future.

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Mylar balloons should be illegal to release and probably illegal to even sell anymore.  We are working on petitioning Delaware to create legislation to do just that and will let you know what you can do to help.  That will be announced soon, probably later this week.

 

indian river life saving station, mylar balloons, dunes, delaware, sussex county
Balloon cluster headed into the dunes.

When you release a balloon for whatever reason you are actually littering.  Balloons do not stay up in the air forever they have to come down somewhere at some point.  We find a lot of memorial balloons with addresses and names on them to let the “releaser” know how far it traveled.   I think we need to mail them back with a $250 ticket for littering.  If you want to do a memorial for a loved one, plant a tree it will be much more beneficial to the earth and you can watch it grow.  You can celebrate life by creating life, not releasing something that kills life.

 

Fish On!

Rich King

 

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