NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

One community’s dogged determination removes 90 unclaimed vessels

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By: Kim Albins and Leah Henry

MOBILE, ALABAMA — Project partners tripled their intended removal of 24 to 36 high priority abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) and were able to remove 90 ADVs! This wildly successful removal project in coastal Alabama, led by the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Dog River Clearwater Revival resulted in more than 130 metric tons of debris removed from Dog River, Fowl River and on the Dauphin Island Causeway!

By combining dogged determination and the overwhelming support from the local community with the NOAA Restoration Center and Marine Debris Program’s Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant  this group greatly exceeded their goals and made a huge difference in the Dog River and Fowl River watersheds.

This ADV removal effort included 12 organizations, 87 volunteers (1,611 hours donated), and support from across Alabama’s coast.

In phase 1 of the removal, the team contracted Lovvorn Pile Driving, Inc. to remove up to 36 vessels. Mr. Lovvorn’s local knowledge and desire for a clean watershed ensured the project’s success and resulted in lower removal costs.

In phase 2, DISL worked with J&W Marine, expanding into parts of the Fowl River watershed. When contacted to discuss the contract, Wayne Eldridge, owner of J&W Marine and former commercial oysterman, stated, “I would have done the work for free. I’ve wanted to clean that up for years.” Eldridge’s interest and long‐standing relationships in coastal Alabama benefited this project and the health of the Fowl River watershed.

In addition to this impressive removal operation, the team has been spreading the message to prevent ADVs. By educating the surrounding community, the team aims to reduce the number of vessels abandoned in Alabama’s emergent wetlands, submerged aquatic vegetation, riparian boundaries, and un-vegetated soft river bottoms. They have also replanted native submerged aquatic vegetation to restore the habitat and have already witnessed the return of local vegetation and wildlife. The team continues to conduct research on the impacts of ADVs on water quality and habitat and share what they have learned with others around dealing with similar ADV issues around the United States.

To read more about this project on the NOAA MDP website:


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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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