Although prevention is essential in stopping marine debris at its source, removing marine debris is unfortunately necessary to address all the debris that is already out there. The NOAA Marine Debris Program offers an annual nationwide competitive funding opportunity to support projects that focus on community-based marine debris removal. This year, after an intensive evaluation process, we are proud to announce the 14 recipients of our 2016 awards, totaling $1,123,523 of funding toward marine debris removal efforts.
This year’s funded projects are:
- Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources ($36,112) will survey and map derelict crab traps in Upper Mobile Bay, Portersville Bay, Heron Bay, Weeks Bay, Wolf Bay, and Perdido Bay in Alabama, then will lead three volunteer derelict crab trap removal events to remove approximately 1,050 crab traps.
- California State University Channel Islands ($99,928) will conduct monthly and quarterly marine debris shoreline accumulation surveys at mainland California and Channel Island beaches and will remove 19 tons of marine debris. The University will also implement an awareness campaign to prevent lobster pot loss and will conduct education and outreach with K-12 and undergraduate students.
- Center for Coastal Studies ($95,283) will work with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries as well as commercial and recreational fishermen to identity, remove, document, and properly dispose of approximately 17 tons of derelict fishing gear from Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay.
- Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Division of Fish and Wildlife ($90,000) will work with local commercial crabbers to survey, map, and remove up to 2,000 derelict crab pots from coastal areas near Dover, on the Delaware side of Delaware Bay. Education and outreach with the recreational boating and crabbing communities will also be conducted to prevent future derelict fishing gear.
- Douglas Indian Association ($33,812) will survey, map, and remove up to 400 derelict crab pots from the Gastineau Channel between Douglas Island and Juneau, Alaska.
- Galveston Bay Foundation ($42,500) will remove six abandoned and derelict vessels and one large bundle of derelict pilings from Chocolate Bayou in Galveston Bay, Texas.
- Hawaii Wildlife Fund ($85,000) will remove approximately 61 tons of marine debris through 35 large-scale community cleanup events and through 84 patrols for derelict fishing gear and large debris along remote stretches of coastline on Lānaʻi, Kauaʻi, Maui, and the island of Hawaii.
- Marine Board, Oregon State ($55,000) will remove the 70-foot, 78-ton F/V Western, which sank in Coos Bay in 2015. They will also lead an Abandoned and Derelict Vessel Task Force to prevent future abandoned and derelict vessels and will develop an inventory of abandoned and derelict vessels along the Oregon coast.
- New Jersey Audubon Society ($176,849) will survey, map, and remove approximately 2,000 derelict crab pots from the Cape May area of Delaware Bay, New Jersey’s southern coastal bays, and the Cape May artificial reef. They will also conduct outreach with local crabbers and the general public to prevent future derelict fishing gear.
- North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality ($40,768) will conduct unmanned aerial surveys to identify and map medium and large marine debris items to prioritize for removal within the Rachel Carson Reserve component of the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve. Approximately six tons of priority marine debris will be removed and adjacent habitat will be monitored for recovery.
- Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources ($66,672) will assess, map, and remove five 30- to 46-foot abandoned and derelict vessels in Fajardo Bay, Puerto Rico. The adjacent coral and seagrass habitats will then be monitored for recovery. Outreach with the boating community will also be conducted to educate boaters about how to prevent vessel groundings and derelict vessels.
- Sitka Sound Science Center ($175,000) will work with teams of local, trained crew and volunteers to remove approximately 33 tons of marine debris from shorelines in and around the communities of Port Heiden, St. Paul, and Savoonga in the Bering Sea.
- Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association ($90,000) will conduct maintenance and provide upgrades to the existing trash capture infrastructure in the Goat Canyon Sediment Basin of the U.S. portion of the Tijuana River. They will also lead two month-long community cleanup events to remove an estimated five tons of debris from surrounding natural habitats. Outreach regarding waste management and marine debris will be conducted with stakeholders in Mexico through binational communication.
- University of Wisconsin Sea Grant ($36,599) will implement strategies to identify and locate derelict fishing nets for removal, including the development and distribution of derelict net marking kits for local anglers and the installation of sonar and video equipment on vessels. At least ten large nets totaling at least five tons will be removed from Lake Superior.