NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

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Building Bins: Fishing Line Recycling in Ohio

By: Sarah Lowe

In the Great Lakes, fishing line is an entanglement hazard for wildlife.  This is especially true in areas such as the Maumee River in Ohio.  Each spring, thousands of fishermen brave the cooler temperatures to catch walleye (a popular recreational species of freshwater fish found in northern waters of the U.S.), which are migrating up from Lake Erie to spawn in the river.  Given the amount of line being used during this time, there is a large amount lost or discarded improperly.

In order to tackle this issue, the NOAA Marine Debris Program has provided support to Partners for Clean Streams (PCS), a local non-profit in Toledo, OH, to build and distribute mono-filament fishing line recycling bins. On February 18, I assisted PCS staff and volunteers in building 20 bins!  As part of the BoatUS Foundation Reel In and Recycle Program, these bins are created to allow fishermen an opportunity to recycle fishing line.  Once collected, the line is shipped to the Berkley Conservation Institute and repurposed into more line or other fishing products such as tackle boxes.  Look for a bin the next time you go fishing!

This project, like many in the region, are being highlighted to congressional staff as part of the Great Lakes Day this week in Washington, D.C. Great Lakes Day is an annual event hosted by the Great Lakes Commission and the Northeast-Midwest Institute to educate and convey a unified message to Congress on priorities for the region.

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Aboard the transoceanic invasive species mobile

NOAA Marine Debris Program:

It’s Invasive Species Awareness Week, and did you know that there’s the potential for invasive species to spread by hitching a ride on marine debris? A floating net, buoy, plastic container, or other piece of marine debris can harbor algae, mollusks, barnacles, crabs, or other species and transport them across the ocean to regions where they’re non-native. If the species is invasive, it can do serious damage to the ecosystem where the debris lands.

In some cases, natural disasters introduce items into the open ocean from coastal zones, such as small boats, floating docks and aquaculture gear (nets, cages, floats), that have been colonized by intertidal and shallow water organisms. After the 2011 tsunami in Japan, NOAA and its state partners focused on the potential for marine debris generated by the tsunami to bring non-native species to U.S shorelines.

Rebeka Ryvola, a Research Associate at the Ecologic Institute, described for us in this post how invasive species can be bad news for biodiversity. Take a look.

Marine organisms attach to chunks of trash like foamed plastic. Credit: Lindsey Hoshaw


Originally posted on NOAA's Marine Debris Blog:

By guest blogger Rebeka Ryvola, Ecologic Institute

When introduced into new environments, invasive species can be a major problem.  Invasives – species living in a certain area where they don’t belong – can harm the native species present or out-survive them and cause dramatic ecosystem changes. The changes are usually for the worse.

Humans are often unwittingly instrumental in helping these species infiltrate new territories, and we’re finding more and more evidence that marine debris is a culprit.

Invasive species stage their “invasions” in a number of ways. They can float through the air, travel by water currents, or cling to migrating animals. On land, species such as insects and plants can hitchhike by lurking in suitcases, in and on cars, on bicycles, and even on your clothing. Oceanic species – such as barnacles, mollusks, algae, and fish – can attach themselves to boats or stow away in ship ballast…

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2015 Art Contest Winners

Congratulations to our 2015 Keep the Sea Free of Debris art contest winners! This year, we received more than 600 entries from kindergarten to 8th-grade students with incredible visual messages on being the solution to ocean pollution. Winners of the 2015 art contest will be featured in our 2016 marine debris calendar to help raise awareness on the harmful impacts marine debris has on our oceans year-round.

Marine debris makes everyone “crabby” including 6th-grader Halie C., from South Carolina. Have a look at our 2015 Keep the Sea Free of Debris art contest winners!


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Santa Barbara Students Dive into Marine Debris

By: Asma Mahdi

Last month, 60 elementary school students gathered at Mission Creek Lagoon in Santa Barbara, California for what will ideally be their first step in becoming ocean stewards. The field trip kicked off Marine Debris, the Ocean, & Me, new partnership to prevent marine debris with the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum and the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

Marine Debris, the Ocean, & Me focuses on teaching kids about how debris moves through watersheds and into the marine environment, with particular attention to litter found around the outflow of Mission Creek Lagoon. The kids get hands-on lessons in studying the debris they find there and determining impacts. High school students enrolled in the museum’s Quasars to Sea Stars program at the museum learn about marine debris through classroom instruction and get hands on experience through participating in a beach cleanup. The students apply their knowledge to develop classroom presentations and become teachers for a day on visits to local middle school classrooms.

Here are some photos of the event:

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Removing Debris from New York’s Jamaica Bay

By: Leah Henry

The American Littoral Society (ALS), as part of a Community-based Marine Debris Removal grant from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, is removing debris from 22 acres of salt marsh, salt meadow, and mud flats with the help of 1,600 volunteers. These removal efforts aim to improve essential fish habitat and help prevent future marine debris accumulation.

In addition to removal efforts, ALS is developing more compelling ways to present the data they collect, creating a marine debris reduction outreach program for communities directly contributing to litter, and implementing a marine debris reduction certification program to incentivize debris reduction in local waterways.

Learn more about this effort on the MDP website.


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Nike Marsh Cleanup in Lido Beach, NY Inspires Volunteers

By: Dr. Jason Williams, Guest Blogger

Dr. Williams is a professor at Hofstra University and leads cleanup efforts as part of a Community-based Marine Debris Removal grant from the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

This past fall, Hofstra University, Long Beach School District, and Long Island Volunteer Center (LIVC) organized a fall clean-up of the Nike Marsh in Lido Beach, New York. The Nike Alternative High School is located on the property, which is the former home of the United States Army Nike Missile Battery NY-29/30.


Volunteers remove marine debris from Lido Beach, NY.


Nearly 50 volunteers assisted during the event, including members from Capital One and Zurich North America. It was a beautiful fall day to be on the marsh, and in total the volunteers removed 5.71 tons of debris! The debris included two overflowing 20-yard dumpsters of large timbers, tires, foam and other materials. In addition, some of the volunteers worked on removing smaller items and trash, like bottles and plastics, which had accumulated on the marsh. Donated funds from LIVC were used to buy supplies for the volunteers that assisted in the clean-up (boots, gloves, wheelbarrows and other equipment).

Some of the volunteers expressed their thoughts about the day:

“Very inspiring work.  Don’t realize how much needs to be done with the aftermath of Sandy.”

“When are you doing this again?  Would love to come back.  Happy to help. Maybe these students will want to be marine biologists one day.”

“Very rewarding to help an alternative school and pave the way for students to learn more about the environment and decide who they want to be because many people don’t understand what the Nike School is all about.  This school helps them explore who they are as people.” 

Hofstra University plans to schedule additional cleanups through spring of 2015.


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