By: NOAA Marine Debris Program staff
The NOAA Marine Debris Program awarded $1,275,000 through NOAA’s Restoration Center to groups across the country to support locally-driven, community-based marine debris prevention and removal projects. Eleven groups received funding to remove derelict vessels, trash, debris from natural disasters, derelict fishing gear, and other harmful marine debris from shorelines and coastal waters. Through this grant program, NOAA has funded 87 marine debris removal projects and removed more than 4,800 metric tons of marine debris from our oceans since 2006.
“We are proud to continue to support marine debris removal projects around the country. These organizations will work to address the damage marine debris causes and help improve important ecosystems.” said Nancy Wallace, director of the Marine Debris Program.
The projects last for approximately 24 months and have long-lasting ecological benefits. This year’s projects were chosen from a pool of 42 applications submitted by non-governmental organizations, tribes, academia and local government agencies. The combined request from all applications totaled nearly $5 million, demonstrating the widespread need to address marine debris across the country.
Photos from previous removal projects:
This year’s projects include:
Alaska: Continuation of Critical Habitat Restoration
The Alaska Marine Stewardship Foundation will locate, remove, catalog, weigh, and dispose of an estimated 51.6 metric tons of marine debris in or adjacent to state and federal critical habitat areas in Alaska.
California: Tijuana River NERR Marine Debris Clean-up and Reduction Program
The Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association will move debris from the Goat Canyon Sedimentation Basin to a landfill, using volunteers and youth corps members to remove trash from the Tijuana River watershed, repairing the debris basin trapping mechanisms, and educating students in Mexico about marine debris.
Florida: LagoonKeepers.org Environmental Action Initiative
Through this initiative, the Lake Worth Lagoon Environmental Defense Fund, Inc. will remove debris as small as single-use plastic bags and as large as sunken vessels. It is estimated that by removing these 31 vessels (17 sunken), it will account for 620,000 pounds of debris removed from the local marine environment. This will directly and immediately benefit local marine animal and plant species by allowing marine life a chance to recuperate from the debris impacts.
Hawai‘i: Inspiring Coastal Stewardship in Hawai‘i through Coastal Cleanups and Educational Outreach
Sustainable Coastlines, Hawai‘i will organize volunteer-driven beach cleanups on northeast Oahu to remove an estimated 5-10 tons of debris. They will also educate students and businesses within their communities.
New Jersey: Jamaica Bay Marine Debris Removal and Data-driven Prevention Pilot Project
Over a two year period, the American Littoral Society will remove 57.23 metric tons of debris from multiple sites in Jamaica Bay in New York City, including Dubos Point Wildlife Sanctuary.
New York: Long Island Sound Deep Water Derelict Lobster Gear Assessment, Removal and Prevention
Cornell University Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County (CCE) will assess the extent and distribution of derelict lobster gear and the condition of lobsters and other unintentionally ensnared wildlife in the Long Island Sound. CCE will employ active commercial lobstermen to remove derelict gear. When possible, intact and identifiable gear will be returned to the original owner while unsalvageable gear will be recycled at a waste-to-energy facility or metals recycler.
Michigan: A Better Belle Isle: Marine Debris Removal and Prevention
The Alliance for the Great Lakes and partners aim to remove 250 tons of debris and naturalize and stabilize 150 linear feet of shoreline and coastal wetland using native plants and natural rock on Belle Isle in Michigan.
South Carolina: Using Community-Based Initiatives for Marine Debris Removal and Restoration of Essential Fish Habitats in the Charleston Harbor Watershed
South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium’s project will remove thirteen derelict vessels weighing approximately 22-26 tons from the Charleston Harbor watershed, improving both the safety of navigable waterways and the health of essential fish habitat. In addition, approximately 15 tons of marine debris (primarily unwanted fishing gear) will be collected and disposed of during three county-wide Clean Marine events that will provide opportunities for individuals to dispose of unwanted fishing and boating gear.
US Virgin Islands : Removal of Marine Debris from shorelines and shallow mangrove and seagrass habitat with accompanying community education and outreach program
The Coral Bay Community Council, Inc. (CBCC) will remove 6-12 derelict vessels weighing about 12 metric tons that have been grounded, beached or sunk in the mangroves of Coral Harbor in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Removal of these vessels will reduce the number of hazards within shallow water and protect the often battered mangroves and abraded seagrass. Volunteers will assist in shoreline and mangrove clean-up efforts to remove an additional metric ton of debris. CBCC will develop a marine debris reduction and monitoring program, place a dumpster and recycling bins near the dock, and implement public outreach to encourage reduction in marine debris pollution.
Washington: Student Conservation Association NOAA Community-based Marine Debris Removal Project
The Student Conservation Association, Inc. (SCA) and partners will work with community volunteers to educate local residents about their coastline and will remove an anticipated 560 tons of marine debris.
Washington: Washington Derelict Gear Removal Project
The Nature Conservancy will remove derelict crab pots from 155 square miles of habitat within and outside the Quinault Indian Nation Special Management Area. This work will build on knowledge gained from previous NOAA-funded Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife removal efforts and use new locally-piloted removal techniques.
NOAA’s Restoration Center is now accepting applications for the next funding cycle. Applications are due November 17, 2014. For more information, visit: http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=265368