NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

Endangered Sea Turtles Benefit from Volunteers’ Dirty Work

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By: Leah Henry

The Coastal Cleanup Corporation (CCC) removed over two tons of marine debris from endangered loggerhead sea turtle nesting habitat on Elliott Key and they have even more cleanups scheduled.

George and Suzy Pappas, the founders of CCC, a non-profit organization in South Florida, with help from volunteers and funding from NOAA’s Community-Based Marine Debris Removal project removed 4,019 pounds of plastic, foam, rubber and glass, as well as derelict commercial fishing gear and wooden shipping pallets that drifted onto the shores of the island via wind, currents, and tides.

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Marine debris that piles up on the coastal dunes can block, entangle, or injure nesting female sea turtles as they come ashore to dig nests. The removal effort will likely have a positive impact on nesting loggerhead sea turtles. Last year, Biscayne National Park resource managers saw a significant increase in the nesting activity of sea turtles on the oceanside beaches of Elliott Key following the removal of more than five tons of marine debris.

The Pappas will complete the second half of their cleanups in the next few months and we look forward to checking in on their progress.

Author: NOAA Marine Debris Program

The NOAA Marine Debris Program envisions the global ocean and its coasts, users, and inhabitants free from the impacts of marine debris. Our mission is to investigate and solve the problems that stem from marine debris, in order to protect and conserve our nation's marine environment, natural resources, industries, economy, and people.

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