Florida Incident Waterway Debris Response: A New Comprehensive Guide for the State

Posted Wed, 06/29/2016 - 10:01

The NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) is proud to announce the release of the new Incident Waterway Debris Response document for Florida. 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 Florida.

Plastics in the Ocean: How They Get There, Their Impacts, and Our Solutions

Posted Mon, 06/27/2016 - 13:30

Marine debris is a pervasive problem facing our ocean and Great Lakes. Of all the trash that ends up in these important water bodies, plastics are the most common. This week, we’re exploring the problem of plastics in our ocean and the solutions that are making a difference. To learn more about #OceanPlastics, keep your eye on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and NOAA’s Response and Restoration blog this week.  

Globally, we are consuming more and more single-use plastic items, but many countries lack the waste infrastructure to process it, resulting in plastic debris entering our waterways. In places where there is good infrastructure, intentional littering or improper disposal may have the same results. Many people don’t think about the way they may be contributing to this waste, such as by throwing a cigarette butt (which is plastic!) on the ground  or adding their trash to the top of an overflowing garbage can. 

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Marine Debris Removal in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands: A Look Back

Posted Thu, 06/23/2016 - 11:01

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 Pacific Islands region.

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) are beautiful. Home to many amazing animals and clear, turquoise blue water, they are located far from large human populations. However, despite their distance from people, they are still inundated with marine debris that washes up from faraway places. To combat this debris and preserve this paradise, multiple NOAA offices have collaborated on a yearly removal mission to clean debris from the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument and the shores of the NWHI since 1996. The NOAA Marine Debris Program has been involved in this effort since the establishment of our program—that’s ten years of some pretty impressive NWHI removal! 

Cleaning up the A-8 in San Diego Bay: A Look Back

Posted Thu, 05/26/2016 - 11:43

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

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 California region.

Back in 2008, the Port of San Diego, with funding through the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Community-based Marine Debris Removal grant program, initiated a three-phase project to remove marine debris from a former anchorage site and surrounding shorelines. By 2013, over 447 metric tons of debris had been removed!

Preventing Marine Debris in California krista.e.stegemann Wed, 05/25/2016 - 12:58

California isn’t only the site of innovative marine debris removal projects, but is also where some really interesting and creative prevention projects are taking place! Here are two new projects that the NOAA Marine Debris Program is proud to be a part of:

ReThink Disposable is a project by the Clean Water Fund that works to combat the use of single-use items in restaurants. This project works directly with restaurants to help them make the transition to reusable items, reducing their waste and saving them money over time. Educational materials are also provided and displayed in order to educate customers and encourage them to make choices to reduce their contribution to marine debris. For more on this project, check out the project profile on our website.

Fishermen Take the Lead in California Removal Efforts krista.e.stegemann Tue, 05/24/2016 - 12:44

Marine debris is a pervasive problem and unfortunately, our golden state on the west coast is not immune. However, the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) is supporting some innovative projects that are actively addressing this problem. To give you a cool example, California is the site of a nifty marine debris removal project that started last summer.

Led by the SeaDoc Society at the University of California, Davis and working with area fishermen, this project in Northern and Central California is working to fight a big debris problem: derelict crab traps. Derelict traps can cause all kinds of problems for marine life, recreational boaters, and for fishermen. Apart from losing expensive traps, the fishery suffers as derelict traps continue to capture crabs that could otherwise be caught by an active fisherman (a concept known as ghost fishing). To address this problem, commercial fishermen are going out during the closed crabbing season to recover lost pots.

Congratulations to the Winners of the First “Communicating for a Clean Future” Marine Debris PSA Competition!

Posted Fri, 05/20/2016 - 13:54

The NOAA Marine Debris Program and our partners – Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Ohio Sea Grant, and the Ohio State University Stone Laboratory – are pleased to announce the winners of the first annual “Communicating for a Clean Future” Marine Debris Public Service Announcement Competition!

The competition was open to students in grades 9 through 12 from Ohio’s 9th Congressional District. After learning about the issue of marine debris in the ocean and Great Lakes through lessons and school activities, students were challenged to develop innovative public service announcements (PSAs) aimed at inspiring others to take action to prevent and reduce marine debris. This competition not only worked to engage students and to spread the message about marine debris, but empowered students to become leaders in their communities in the fight against it.

Another Successful Removal Mission in the NWHI Wraps Up

Posted Fri, 05/20/2016 - 11:30

The 2016 Northwestern Hawaiian Islands marine debris removal mission came to a close last Friday, May 13, successfully hauling in 12 tons of debris from Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. A marine debris team of 10 NOAA scientists was part of the removal effort that spanned 32 days cleaning Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge, Pearl and Hermes Atoll, Kure Atoll State Wildlife Sanctuary, Lisianski Island, and the French Frigate Shoals.

The annual removal mission, which began in 1996, has removed a total of 935 tons of marine debris to date including the 12 tons of marine debris from this year’s mission. The NOAA Marine Debris Program has supported this yearly effort since the program’s inception in 2006. As the program celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, it also marks ten years of funding this removal effort in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.