Removing Marine Debris in Alaska krista.e.stegemann Tue, 10/04/2016 - 11:44

Although preventing marine debris is the ultimate solution, removing debris as it accumulates on our shores is an unfortunate necessity. In Alaska, there are currently some pretty cool removal efforts underway to clean up Alaska’s coasts, which are often remote and difficult to access.

The Island Trails Network (ITN) is addressing the issue of debris in remote areas in an innovative and unique way! This effort focuses on Shuyak Island, an area rich in biodiversity that’s located in the western Gulf of Alaska. This location is exposed to high winds and strong currents that cause marine debris to build up, but also make it difficult to access. To solve this problem, ITN recruited qualified volunteers from around the world to come to Alaska and clean the shoreline using sea kayaks, collecting debris and moving it to more easily-accessible areas, where it is later removed and analyzed. 

The NOAA Marine Debris Program Awards Funding to 12 New Projects to Prevent Marine Debris

Posted Mon, 09/26/2016 - 16:13

Prevention is the ultimate solution to marine debris. In order to tackle this pervasive problem, we must stop it at its source. Since 2013, the NOAA Marine Debris Program has offered an annual nationwide competitive funding opportunity to support projects focused on marine debris prevention through education and outreach. This year, after an intensive evaluation process, we are proud to announce the 12 recipients of our 2016 awards, totaling $684,264 of funding toward marine debris prevention efforts.

Check out this year’s funded projects.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program Awards Funding to 14 New Projects to Remove Marine Debris

Posted Fri, 09/23/2016 - 11:56

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.

Check out this year’s funded projects.

North Carolina Incident Waterway Debris Response: A New Comprehensive Guide for the State krista.e.stegemann Fri, 09/09/2016 - 15:59

The NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) is proud to announce the release of the new Incident Waterway Debris Response document for North Carolina. This guide takes existing roles and authorities, as they relate to response to an incident that generates large amounts of debris in coastal waterways, and presents them in one guidance document for easy reference. By collaborating with local, state, and federal entities active in the region, this guide aims to facilitate a more timely and effective response to waterway debris incidents in North Carolina.

Removing Debris from a New York Salt Marsh: A Look Back

Posted Thu, 09/08/2016 - 11:00

Over the years of the NOAA Marine Debris Program, there have been many efforts around the country to rid our waters and shores of marine debris. As part of our ten-year anniversary celebration, let’s take a look back at one of those efforts in the Northeast.

Back in 2013, Hofstra University began a removal project with support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program. This project aimed to clean debris from Nike Marsh, one of the last natural salt marshes in Nassau County, New York, which had been inundated with debris from Hurricanes Irene and Sandy. Lumber, tires, foam, and many other types of large and small debris littered this area.

Marine Debris Education in the Northeast krista.e.stegemann Tue, 09/06/2016 - 14:25

Marine debris is a pervasive problem throughout the United States. In the Northeast, it’s no different. Luckily, there are several projects underway to combat this problem. Focusing on prevention, the ultimate solution to marine debris, two of these more recent projects use education to stop debris in its tracks.

The From Shore to State House project, led by the University of Hartford and supported by the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP), has developed a college-level course which introduces students to marine debris. Students learn about the subject, participate in cleanups, and then talk to their local legislators about marine debris policy. The best part? The course materials are open-source, so other college instructors can replicate the program.

Marine Debris Tracker: Fight Marine Debris with Your Phone! krista.e.stegemann Thu, 08/11/2016 - 12:54

Interested in getting involved in the fight against marine debris but not sure how? Consider downloading the Marine Debris Tracker app and fight debris with your phone!

Marine debris is one of the most pervasive global threats to the health of our ocean. Monitoring where marine debris is found provides important information that can be used to track the progress of prevention efforts, add value to beach cleanups, and inform solutions. The Marine Debris Tracker provides a unique opportunity for you to get involved in collecting marine debris data in your community by allowing users to easily report debris sightings at any time. The Tracker is completely mobile and data can be entered anywhere, even without mobile service! As less of a time-commitment than the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project (MDMAP), the Tracker app is a great way to get involved without getting in over your head!

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Surveypalooza: Marine Debris Monitoring on the West Coast krista.e.stegemann Tue, 08/09/2016 - 11:30

By: Sherry Lippiatt, California Regional Coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program

On July 15th, an intrepid group of shoreline survey enthusiasts departed Seattle for nearly a week on the road. The mission: to spend a full six days surveying West Coast beaches for marine debris. The goal of this “surveypalooza” was to compare shoreline survey methodologies developed by the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP; for the Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project, or “MDMAP”) and the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). All told, our team of eight (including staff from the MDP, CSIRO, and the Ocean Conservancy) completed 26 individual monitoring surveys at 16 shoreline sites located approximately every 100 km along the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and Northern California.

Monitoring shorelines for marine debris can help answer some important questions, such as: how big is the marine debris problem, and how is it changing over time? Or, what types of debris are most common in a region? There are a lot of questions that drive monitoring efforts, but developing a standardized monitoring protocol is not so straightforward. 

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