NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

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Happy Thanksgiving From the NOAA Marine Debris Program!

It’s almost Thanksgiving and we’re thinking about what we’re thankful for.

Here at the NOAA Marine Debris Program, we’re thankful for the wonderful partners that we work with to spread the message, cleanup, and learn more about marine debris. We’re also thankful for all the people out there that are thinking about marine debris and how they can help. Each person that thinks “you know, maybe I’ll use a reusable bag at the grocery store today”—we’re thankful for you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

We’re thankful for our ocean and Great Lakes and we hope you are too, so as you’re celebrating this Thanksgiving, remember all the things you can do to keep your holiday green. When you’re doing some of that last-minute grocery shopping, take reusable bags with you and consider getting bulk ingredients or items with minimal packaging. For the main event, it’s the type of occasion to get out the nice plates and silverware. By using reusable cups, plates and utensils, you’re helping to reduce your use of single-use items. For the items that do need to be tossed at the end of the day, don’t forget to recycle what you can. If we all continue to do our part, maybe next year we can be thankful for a cleaner ocean.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Clean Bays Works Toward Urban Renewal in Providence

Supported by a newly-awarded Community-based Marine Debris Removal grant from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, Clean Bays is working to remove industrial debris from 18 miles of East Providence shoreline, as well as from the navigable waters of Providence Harbor. With plenty of debris left over from its use as an industrial port and from the intentional dumping of discarded items, this area has become not only an eye-sore, but a threat to navigation and the surrounding environment. To restore this 18-mile stretch that encompasses approximately 350 acres of habitat, Clean Bays will remove 165 tons of debris!

The NOAA Marine Debris Program is teaming up with Clean Bays to remove industrial debris from 18 miles of shoreline and nearshore environments in East Providence, Rhode Island. (Photo Credit: Keith Cialino, NOAA MDP)

The NOAA Marine Debris Program is teaming up with Clean Bays to remove industrial debris from 18 miles of shoreline and nearshore environments in East Providence, Rhode Island. (Photo Credit: Keith Cialino, NOAA MDP)

Collaborating with community partners such as Save The Bay, Clean Ocean Access, Providence Community Boating Center, and 11th Hour Racing, Clean Bays will engage over 500 local volunteers to participate in shoreline cleanups, data collection and monitoring work. This work, in addition to Clean Bays’ efforts to remove larger debris such as abandoned pilings and household appliances, will help to implement a plan adopted by the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council to revitalize the East Providence shoreline.

U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) is hosting a press event tomorrow, November 24th, to celebrate the launch of this exciting project. The NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Northeast Regional Coordinator, Keith Cialino, will be speaking at the event.

For more information on this project, visit the project profile page on our website.

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Don’t Forget! The NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest Ends November 30th!

(Artwork by one of last year's winners: Emily E., Grade 1, Alaska)

(Artwork by one of last year’s winners: Emily E., Grade 1, Alaska)

There’s still time!

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to enter your artwork for the NOAA Marine Debris Program Art Contest by November 30th. If you want to bring awareness to the issue of marine debris and have a shot at being featured in the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s 2017 calendar, then make sure you get those pencils, markers, crayons, paints, or pens moving and get your creation mailed in!

We can’t wait to see all of this year’s entries!

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Tijuana River Action Month Inspires Binational Cleanup Efforts

By: Cara Stafford, Guest Blogger and Stewardship Coordinator at Tijuana River NERR

From September 12th through October 17th, a total of 3,898 volunteers spent their Saturday mornings removing 85,609 pounds of debris and 284 tires from canyons, creek beds, and beaches in the western portion of the Tijuana River Watershed. This effort was part of the sixth annual Tijuana River Action Month (TRAM), a series of volunteer-driven education and stewardship events held each fall. The TRAM aims to mobilize community volunteers and groups on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border to become stewards of the Tijuana River Watershed, as well as to recognize key efforts and investments by public and private agencies, businesses, non-profits and community groups to protect and restore the Tijuana River. This initiative is organized by the Tijuana River Action Network.

Last year, the Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association (SWIA), in association with the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (Tijuana River NERR), was awarded funding through the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s (MDP) Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant competition to support binational cleanups through an expansion of Tijuana River Action Month, as well as further outreach and restoration. These efforts aim to capture and remove land-based debris from canyons and riparian habitats (along the banks of the river) within the Tijuana River Watershed before it enters the sensitive habitats of the Tijuana Estuary and Pacific Ocean. It also aims to prevent future debris inundations by implementing improved debris capture infrastructure, performing outreach with schools in Tijuana, and engaging Mexican NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and waste industry companies in Tijuana River Action Month cleanups.

For more on cleanup efforts in the Tijuana River NERR, check out the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s website.

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The NOAA Marine Debris Program Celebrates “America Recycles Day” Every Day!

Yesterday was “America Recycles Day”, a national initiative put on every year by Keep America Beautiful. How did you celebrate?

Yesterday was "America Recycles Day"-- keep the momentum going! (Photo Credit: Keep America Beautiful)

Yesterday was “America Recycles Day”– keep the momentum going! (Photo Credit: Keep America Beautiful)

Even though America Recycles Day was yesterday, it’s important to keep the momentum going and celebrate every day! As a nation, our efforts to recycle are improving, but there is still a long way to go. Think of some of the products you use that might not come to the top of your mind when you think of recycling. This might include personal care items found in the bathroom (like haircare and mouthwash bottles), plastic bags from the grocery store, plastic wrap used to package things like toilet paper, and consumer gadgets and electronics (like mobile phones or televisions)—all items that can be recycled!

Lots of items you might not think of can be recycled and turned into other useful items!

Lots of items you might not think of can be recycled and turned into other useful items!

Not only can we continue to practice and celebrate recycling, but the America Recycles Day initiative continues with the “I Will Recycle” sweepstakes through November 20th. Enter now and take the pledge!

Remember, every effort counts. Think of the difference it would make if we all did our best to recycle! For more information on how to help combat litter and marine debris, visit our website.


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Cooperative Efforts Result in the Removal of Abandoned Vessels and Other Debris from the Historic Charleston Harbor

By: Sarah Latshaw, Southeast Regional Coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program

Charleston Harbor just got a facelift, with 10 abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) removed from its waterways and shoreline earlier this month. After being abandoned by their owners, many of these boats had been stuck for years, slowly deteriorating in the marsh, because of a lack of funding for removal and salvage efforts. Some of these ADVs were environmental concerns, causing damage to the shoreline and grasses or becoming dumping sites for other boaters’ trash; others posed a threat to navigation, and most were eyesores for this charming, historic city.

This removal effort was led by the SC Sea Grant Consortium, through support from a NOAA Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant. Through a collaborative effort, the SC Sea Grant Consortium partnered with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control – Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management (SCDHEC-OCRM), the City of Charleston, and Charleston City Marina to haul off 68 tons of sailboats, motorboats, and an old houseboat. In addition, approximately 10 tons of marine debris (primarily unwanted fishing and boating gear) was collected and disposed of during a county-wide Clean Marine event this past April.

In the coming months, several more vessels will be removed and another Clean Marine event will be held. By the end of the project, approximately 100 tons of debris will be taken out of the Charleston Harbor watershed, giving it a healthy and fresh new look. For more on the project, check out the project webpage.

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The NOAA Marine Debris Program Launches the New ADV InfoHub!

The NOAA Marine Debris Program is proud to announce the launch of our new ADV InfoHub, to serve as a center for information on abandoned and derelict vessels, or “ADVs.”

ADVs are a type of marine debris that threatens the environment, navigation, and economies. They can be found in ports and waterways all over the country and come from a variety of sources including storms and owner neglect. Unfortunately, they are also a type of marine debris that can be very difficult and expensive to remove. The removal of an ADV often requires extensive financial and technical resources. Additionally, the legislation surrounding the removal of ADVs can be a tricky topic to navigate because it is different for every state.

That’s where the new ADV InfoHub comes in. This new resource provides a central source of information regarding ADVs and the policies surrounding them. Users can access information on each coastal state, including details on legislation, funding, and information about available ADV Programs, as well as links to relevant publications, case studies, and legal reviews. Information is also provided on which agency to contact for more information on abandoned vessels in each state. The ADV InfoHub was developed with input from our state partners and as a dynamic resource, it will continue to be updated as new information and materials are received. Our aim is that it proves to be a useful resource for the coastal communities impacted by this problem.

Check out the new ADV InfoHub to learn more about abandoned and derelict vessels!

(Photo Credit: Oregon State Marine Board)

Learn all about ADVs by visiting the new ADV InfoHub on the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s website. (Photo Credit: Oregon State Marine Board)


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