Using Citizen Science to Understand Marine Debris

Posted Thu, 04/08/2021 - 11:00

Spring is here! As the temperatures increase and weather improves, many of us are drawn to the outdoors. But what if your trip to the beach could be more than just an enjoyable day? What if you could do scientific research at the same time as a citizen scientist? Opportunities for the public most often come in the form of data collection, but they can also include providing input on questions to investigate, participating in study design, or interpreting and sharing results. Several projects funded through the NOAA Marine Debris Program have tapped into this community resource as well, and committed stewards around the country have contributed invaluable data to monitoring and research projects that support our vision of a sea free of debris.

The Tide is Turning on Marine Debris in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Posted Thu, 03/25/2021 - 11:00

An island in the middle of the Caribbean Sea is an idyllic place to live and visit, but islands can be particularly vulnerable to marine debris. The effects of marine debris can be seen in everyday life in the U.S. Virgin Islands, from the visible debris on our beaches, to the economic toll that it can take on our tourism industry. To help address the issue, the University of the Virgin Islands is leading efforts to remove marine debris from sensitive mangrove habitats and coordinate action with stakeholders across the territory.

Diving Down for Marine Debris in the Florida Keys

Posted Tue, 03/23/2021 - 11:00

Marine debris is a significant challenge facing our blue planet and an ongoing challenge in Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Following Hurricane Irma in 2017, an onslaught of debris was left behind in the southeastern United States. The aftermath damaged ecosystems that are critical for the sanctuary’s marine life, including sponges, dolphins, manatees, and sea turtles. Consequently, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary and its Advisory Council identified marine debris as a major priority needing a proactive response: the Goal: Clean Seas Florida Keys initiative.

From Reefs to Mangroves: Stopping the Surge of Debris in Florida and the Caribbean

Posted Mon, 03/22/2021 - 11:00

Florida and the Caribbean likely bring to mind vacations full of beautiful, sandy beaches, coral reefs teeming with life, swaying palm trees, and picturesque sunsets. But a deeper dive reveals the tragic impacts of marine debris to our local wildlife, our fishing and tourism economies, and the health of our waters. From Plastic Reduction Challenges and Ghost Trap Rodeos to big coastal cleanups and hurricane debris removals, our newest partners in the region have already risen to the challenge and are working hard to implement creative solutions to remove debris and prevent it at the source.

Food for Thought: Taking A Bite Out of Lunchroom Waste

Posted Thu, 03/11/2021 - 11:00

School cafeterias offer students daily lunch choices, but school-provided meals can generate serious waste. Students in rural northeast Michigan took a closer look at their lunchroom waste as part of a “Food for Thought” project led by the Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative, the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan, and Michigan State University Extension. They performed a lunch waste audit to investigate their lunchroom trash and to brainstorm solutions that prevent plastics from becoming marine debris in the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Preventing Plastic in the Great Lakes

Posted Tue, 03/09/2021 - 11:00

The Great Lakes region, with its complex habitats, is no stranger to environmental problems. Organizations have been working for many years to address issues like chemical contaminants, invasive species, and harmful algal blooms. Many of these same organizations, along with emerging leaders from local communities and schools, are now working on new waste awareness and prevention projects to tackle the problem of plastics!

Fishing for Energy Partnership Announces 2021 Request for Proposals

Posted Thu, 02/25/2021 - 08:00

Today, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), a partner of the NOAA Marine Debris Program, announced the 2021 Request for Proposals for the Fishing for Energy Partnership. The NOAA Marine Debris Program is pleased to be part of this collaboration, along with NFWF, Covanta, and Schnitzer Steel to provide up to $500,000 in grant funding this year to support strategies that reduce the impacts of derelict fishing gear on marine and coastal environments and navigational safety. The deadline for full proposals is Tuesday, March 30, 2021.

Addressing and Combating the Impacts of Marine Debris on Birds in the Gulf of Maine

Posted Wed, 02/24/2021 - 11:00

Marine debris is widely recognized as a threat to coastal and marine wildlife. In the Northeastern United States, however, the severity and magnitude of the impacts of marine debris on birds has not been well evaluated. With this in mind, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, which has regulatory responsibility for all listed bird species in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Endangered Species Act, aimed to conduct research to better understand the effects of marine debris on birds.

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