NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Keepin' the Sea Free of Debris!

Removing Debris from a New York Salt Marsh: A Look Back

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The NOAA Marine Debris Program 10 year anniversary identity marker.


Over the years of the NOAA Marine Debris Program, there have been many efforts around the country to rid our waters and shores of marine debris. As part of our ten-year anniversary celebration, let’s take a look back at one of those efforts in the Northeast.


Back in 2013, Hofstra University began a removal project with support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program. This project aimed to clean debris from Nike Marsh, one of the last natural salt marshes in Nassau County, New York, which had been inundated with debris from Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. Lumber, tires, foam, and many other types of large and small debris littered this area.

Volunteers caring lumber through a marsh.

After severe storms hit the area, the marsh and surrounding areas were inundated with marine debris. (Photo Credit: Hofstra University)

To remedy the problem, Hofstra University repaired structures that provide access to the marsh (boardwalks, stairs, and bridges) and then removed debris from more than 15 acres. In the end, this two-year effort involved over 300 volunteers (providing over 1800 hours of service!) and removed over 85 tons of debris from the Nike Marsh and surrounding areas! The project also monitored the ability of the salt marsh to recover after the debris removal. The results were detailed in a 2015 Master’s thesis.

Read more about this project on our website and on the Marine Debris Clearinghouse.

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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