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.