There’s lots of new, exciting stuff going on in the Gulf of Mexico! Unfortunately, like it is in all coastal areas of the country, marine debris is a problem in the Gulf region. Check out some of the interesting prevention and removal efforts that are happening in the Gulf region this year to address this problem:
In Florida, Nature’s Academy is preventing marine debris by involving 3,600 fifth grade students in a unique, hands-on learning program. About 100 teachers will also be trained on marine debris curriculum and both teachers and students will participate in a field trip to a local island to learn about recycling and reducing their waste and to get involved in citizen science! Read more about this project here!
On the other side of the Gulf, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) is working to prevent marine debris through a variety of outreach strategies, including adding a marine debris prevention course to their marine biology and ecology class, hosting marine debris workshops, and developing PSAs. Read more about this multifaceted project here.
Sadly, marine debris is a big enough problem that we can’t just focus on preventing it—we’ve got to remove it too! In Louisiana, those efforts are focusing on derelict crab pots. The Louisiana Department of Fish and Wildlife is working to locate and remove derelict crab pots year-round, as well as during two large removal events, or “derelict crab trap rodeos.” Read more about this project here.
In Alabama, the focus is set on bigger debris—abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs), which are creating a hazard for navigation in Bayou La Batre. To do something about this marine debris problem, the City of Bayou La Batre is removing 21 abandoned vessels, along with restoring local salt marsh habitat, removing some smaller debris, and reaching out to the community to educate about this marine debris problem and prevent ADVs in the future. Read more on this effort here.
Such exciting things are happening in the Gulf region this year! Stay tuned to the NOAA Marine Debris Program website and blog for updates on projects in this region and throughout the country.