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Addressing Marine Debris in the Mid-Atlantic

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Jason Rolfe.Meet Jason Rolfe, the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s (MDP’s) Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator! After earning his B.S. in Environmental Sciences from Frostburg State University, Jason began work at NOAA, where he has worked as a cartographer, an environmental scientist, and a project manager for the past 21 years. Jason joined the MDP in 2011 as the Acting Deputy Director, working on operational tasks as well as focusing on emergency response, planning for the marine debris that washed up on West Coast states after the 2011 Japan tsunami. Since then, he’s also led the MDP’s efforts to address debris in East Coast states resulting from Hurricane Sandy and in 2013, assumed his current position with the Program. Reach out to Jason at jason.rolfe@noaa.gov!

 

The NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Mid-Atlantic region, encompassing coastal states from New Jersey to Virginia, is no stranger to the impacts of marine debris. Like many coastal areas around the country, this region is often inundated with debris ranging from derelict fishing gear to consumer debris. Luckily, there are several awesome efforts currently underway to address marine debris in the Mid-Atlantic. Check out some newly-established projects funded by the MDP:

In order to address debris at the root of the problem, we must focus on preventing it at its source. Trash Free Maryland is working to prevent the creation of debris in Baltimore, Maryland through a multi-year social marketing campaign. They’re focusing on land-based litter and starting with a pilot campaign utilizing trusted community mentors before expanding their messaging to reach a broader Baltimore audience. The ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of litter in Baltimore by encouraging the feeling of responsibility regarding litter and instilling pride in the community to lead to cleaner neighborhoods and waterways. For more on this project, check out the project profile on our website.

Trash on a sidewalk.

Like many places, land-based litter is a problem in Baltimore and so Trash Free Maryland is working to reduce this debris. (Photo Credit: Trash Free Maryland)

Although prevention is the ultimate solution, removal of debris is unfortunately necessary. To address some of the debris that’s already out there, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Delaware Coastal Program is working with local crabbers to locate and remove over 1,000 derelict crab pots from the Delaware portion of the Delaware Bay. For more on this project, check out the project profile on our website.

Someone taking a derelict crab pot out of the water.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Delaware Coastal Program is working to remove derelict crab pots from the Delaware Bay. (Photo Credit: NOAA)

Running in tandem with the Delaware Coastal Program’s project, the New Jersey Audubon is leading a similar project in the New Jersey waters of the Delaware Bay. Working with Northstar Marine and Stockton University, they are striving to locate and remove over 2,000 derelict crab pots from three critical areas of coastal New Jersey and the Delaware Bay. In addition, they’re training local commercial crabbers to use low-cost sonar devices to locate lost pots in order to limit the re-accumulation of pots after removal. For more information on this project, check out the project profile on our website.

Someone holding a derelict crab pot and a pile of derelict crab pots.

The New Jersey Audubon is working to remove derelict crab pots from coastal New Jersey and the Delaware Bay. (Photo Credit: NOAA (left); NJ Audubon (right))

There are lots of cool things happening in the Mid-Atlantic! Keep your eye on our blog this week for more, and check out our website for more interesting marine debris projects in the Mid-Atlantic and throughout the country!

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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