Snorkelers Looking to Remove Marine Debris Find a Surprise and Something Great Happens

Posted Wed, 04/06/2016 - 10:05

The NOAA Marine Debris Program is celebrating our 10-year anniversary throughout 2016. As part of this celebration, we’d like to take the time to look back on some of our past work. Check out this entangled sea turtle that was found back in 2006 and happily released back into Hawaiian waters, free of marine debris.

Marine debris can impact our ocean in many ways, one of which is wildlife entanglement. On this trip, a sea turtle was found entangled in a derelict fishing net.

As members of the NOAA marine debris removal effort in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands were about to start the process of removing a large derelict net ensnared on some coral, they found a surprise— a poor entangled sea turtle! Each year, NOAA supports this effort to remove marine debris from the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which resulted in over 14.5 metric tons of debris collected last year alone!

California Fights Marine Debris With New Storm Water Regulations krista.e.stegemann Wed, 03/02/2016 - 09:58

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

As we previously explored in this blog post, California’s coasts are consistently plagued with marine debris, so the state’s active and engaged environmental community has been working to build momentum and visibility on the issue. Recently, there has been response to this problem in the form on a new Trash Policy.

Curious about the buzz over this recently EPA-approved Trash Policy (aka Trash Amendments) in California? Check out this recent post from our partners at the California Coastal Commission for a non-wonky history of trash reduction policies in the state and what these new storm water regulations will do to reduce marine debris.

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New Jersey Event Highlights Derelict Crab Pot Removal Efforts

Posted Tue, 03/01/2016 - 10:16

On Friday, February 26th, the NOAA Marine Debris Program and its partners held an event in Waretown, New Jersey, to highlight an exciting derelict crab pot removal effort in Barnegat Bay. The event highlighted a project, led by the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey and supported by a NOAA Marine Debris Program Community-based Marine Debris Removal grant, which is working to identify, retrieve, and inventory over 1,000 derelict crab pots from Barnegat Bay, N.J.

Covanta partnered with the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey to provide two bins for collecting the retrieved derelict gear, to then haul and dispose of at their waste-to-energy facility. 

Abandoned Vessels in the Rouge River: Removing Debris in the Great Lakes

Posted Thu, 02/25/2016 - 10:23

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 our Great Lakes region.

Fordson Island, in the Lower Rouge River, is located near Detroit, Michigan, and was the site of some pretty neat removal efforts back in 2011. The area actually has some cool history which you can read more about here. The shore of Fordson Island, which hosts some of the last remaining undeveloped habitat in a very industrialized area, was unfortunately the site of a lot of marine debris, most notably abandoned and derelict vessels.

Cleaning Up the Caribbean

Posted Wed, 02/17/2016 - 12:20

The Caribbean is a beautiful part of the world, with inviting waters and soft sands… but unfortunately, it is not immune to marine debris. To address marine debris in the Caribbean region, the NOAA Marine Debris Program supports various removal and prevention efforts that work to combat it.

In northeast Puerto Rico, we team up with Scuba Dogs Society to remove debris from local shores and install recycling stations that give beachgoers a place to easily sort and dispose of their recyclables.

The President Signs a National Microbead Ban

Posted Wed, 12/30/2015 - 14:04

On Monday, December 28th, President Obama signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 into law. This new law bans plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products, requiring companies to stop manufacturing products that contain them. Microbeads are tiny plastic beads that have commonly been added as abrasives to health and beauty products such as exfoliating face washes and toothpastes, and are designed to wash down the drain. Congress’ swift passage of this legislation is reflective of a growing movement to ban microbeads at the state level– in 2015 alone, 47 bills to ban microbeads were introduced in 25 state legislatures and nine were signed into law.

Scuba Dogs Society Recycles and Removes Debris in Puerto Rico

Posted Thu, 12/03/2015 - 11:59

Scuba Dogs Society is gearing up to make a big difference in the fight against marine debris in Puerto Rico. With support from a newly-awarded NOAA Marine Debris Program Community-based Marine Debris Removal grant, this non-profit organization in San Juan, Puerto Rico, will work to remove marine debris from an ecologically important area in the San Juan Bay Estuary. They anticipate removing 10 metric tons of debris from 500 acres of habitat over 12 to 18 cleanups! Their efforts will also focus on the outfall of the Rio Grande de Loiza, a site where there is both an accumulation of debris washed in from upriver, as well as mid- to large-scale debris like home appliances and car parts that are purposefully dumped there. Scuba Dogs Society expects 600 volunteers will contribute 2,400 hours of time to these removal efforts.

Clean Bays Works Toward Urban Renewal in Providence

Posted Mon, 11/23/2015 - 11:55

Supported by a newly-awarded Community-based Marine Debris Removal grant from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, Clean Bays is working to remove industrial debris from 18 miles of East Providence shoreline, as well as from the navigable waters of Providence Harbor. With plenty of debris left over from its use as an industrial port and from the intentional dumping of discarded items, this area has become not only an eye-sore, but a threat to navigation and the surrounding environment. To restore this 18-mile stretch that encompasses approximately 350 acres of habitat, Clean Bays will remove 165 tons of debris!