Following a competitive review process, the NOAA Marine Debris Program and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are pleased to announce the five recipients of the 2022 Hurricane Response Marine Debris Removal Fund. The awards will go to Gulf of Mexico states impacted by the 2020 and 2021 hurricane seasons, totaling approximately $1.6 million in federal funds. Federal funding is supplemented by grantee matching contributions, bringing the total investment of these marine debris projects to approximately $2.4 million.
The 2020 and 2021 hurricane seasons inflicted severe damage to communities and coastal resources across the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, leaving a swath of destruction and large amounts of debris in coastal areas. This debris poses hazards to navigation, commercial fishing grounds, and sensitive ecosystems.
The supported projects will assess, remove, and dispose of marine debris that was caused by or moved by the storm. This will prevent further damage to sensitive coastal habitats and species and reduce the impacts of marine debris on properties, community infrastructure, assets of economic importance, and navigation safety. The funded projects are:
City of Mobile, AL ($463,460) will restore Mobile’s waterways by removing derelict vessels and displaced docks and piers, and conduct public outreach encouraging owners to secure boats before storms hit and thus decrease vessel loss in future storms.
City of Orange Beach, AL ($367,955) will remove 900,000 pounds of large-scale marine debris from the coastal habitats of Orange Beach, restore habitat, and conduct outreach focused on prevention and resilience.
Lafourche Parish Government, LA ($570,031) will remove vegetative and human-made marine debris from Bayou Boeuf, Dixie Canal, and Halpin Canal, restoring waterways to pre-Hurricane Ida conditions, and reestablish critical functions, including drainage, navigation, recreation, and support of surrounding wetland habitats.
Coastal Environments, Inc., LA ($150,162) will remove three abandoned vessels from the Tchefuncte River that were deposited by Hurricane Ida in order to reduce navigation hazards and the threat of pollutants to local wildlife.
Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, MS ($42,928) will identify and remove derelict crab traps from Mississippi’s marine and estuarine waters and adjacent marshes, engaging fishers and the broader community in derelict crab trap removal.