The NOAA Marine Debris Program has had a visitor these past two weeks! Andrea Oliveira from Brazil is visiting our program with the goal of understanding how a national marine debris program operates so that she can take the knowledge back to Brazil and hopefully establish a similar program there. Today we took her out in the field to show her our new and upcoming marine debris monitoring project! This is great as we needed to test the revised methodologies too.
The location chosen for the sample day was Calvert Cliffs State Park which is popular for finding fossil sharks teeth…but of course our eyes were looking for debris! Now, it was a hot as usual day in the DC area with temperatures around 90 degrees. This normally wouldn’t be too much of an issue, but to get to the beach at this particular location requires a two mile hike! We divided up the equipment in our backpacks and set off. Needless to say, I didn’t have to exercise on the treadmill that day after work.
Andrea helped us complete the sample protocol with much interest in the procedure. We also had some questions from the local beach users! It was great to be able to share with them the problem and what we were doing there that day. Of course, our most numerous item for the day as usual was plastic fragments. We also checked out another potential site, Cove Point Lighthouse. We were given permission to access the private beach and conducted some sieving there, but no debris was captured. Andrea got to see her first horseshoe crab skeleton though! Oh, and no sharks teeth 🙂