Monthly Archives March 2017

Congratulations to Our 2017 Art Contest Winners!

Posted Wed, 03/29/2017 - 11:00

It’s that time of year—time to announce the winners of the NOAA Marine Debris Program Annual Art Contest! We had hundreds of impressive entries this year and although we wish we could showcase them all, we are excited to share this year’s winners with you.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program holds this annual art contest to reach K-8 students and help raise awareness about marine debris, one of the most significant problems our ocean faces today. The resulting calendar, featuring the winning artwork, will help to remind us every day how important it is for us to be responsible stewards of the ocean. This year’s winners will be featured in our 2018 calendar, available later this year.

Florida Marine Debris Reduction Guidance Plan Released

Posted Fri, 03/24/2017 - 11:30

Working closely with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Coastal Management Program and numerous other Florida marine debris stakeholders, the NOAA Marine Debris Program is proud to have been involved in the recent creation of the Florida Marine Debris Reduction Guidance Plan. This Plan, which is a compilation of recommended strategies and actions toward reducing the impacts and amount of marine debris in Florida, is the result of multiple years of collaboration between stakeholders including federal and state agencies, local governments, non-governmental organizations, universities, and industry. Moving into the future, the Plan will act as a guide to measure progress toward addressing the marine debris problem in Florida.

Detecting Microplastics in the Marine Environment krista.e.stegemann Thu, 03/23/2017 - 11:30

Microplastics are a type of plastic marine debris that are less than five millimeters in size. Research on this type of debris has become more widespread, but since there is no single agreed-upon method for separating, counting, and weighing microplastics in water samples, it is difficult to compare results across studies. Common approaches may be used, but most laboratories develop their own procedures based on factors such as budget, equipment availability, labor, and the specific research questions being asked.

Since so many different protocols are being used, the NOAA Marine Debris Program partnered with researchers at the University of Washington Tacoma to compare different methodologies.  

The Sixth International Marine Debris Conference: Call for Technical Sessions, Important Dates, & More

Posted Mon, 03/20/2017 - 11:36

The Sixth International Marine Debris Conference (6IMDC) will be held in San Diego, California, USA, from March 12-16, 2018, and will serve as an opportunity to energize international coordination efforts within the marine debris community. The 6IMDC organizers are pleased to announce updates to the website, including:

Call for Technical Sessions: With a variety of topics available, the 6IMDC organizers are currently soliciting technical session proposals for the conference. Session proposals will be evaluated on technical merit; interest from the greater marine debris community; ability to engage scientists, policymakers, natural resource managers, and industry representatives; and the ability to show a breadth of engagement across disciplines.

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It’s St. Patrick’s Day, So Keep Our Ocean Clean and Go Green!

Posted Fri, 03/17/2017 - 10:37

Today is Saint Patrick’s Day and let the sea of green that comes with this holiday remind you to “go green” today and every day! There are lots of ways we can all make our lives a little greener. How could you make your life more environmentally-friendly? Here are some ideas to get you started:

Remember your 3R’s. One of the easiest ways to “go green” is to follow the 3R’s every day and reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever possible!

Spread the word. Let others know about issues like marine debris and how they can help. A lot of people are unaware of these issues and how their actions can affect our environment. Get your friends and family in on the action and go green together!

Consumer Debris and the Great Lakes krista.e.stegemann Thu, 03/16/2017 - 11:30

While marine debris is perhaps more commonly thought of as an oceanic problem, the Great Lakes region is an area that is also affected by debris, particularly consumer product items and other such land-based litter. In 2015 alone, the Alliance for the Great Lakes Adopt-a-Beach Program removed 92,616 pounds of debris from Great Lakes habitats. These debris items come from a multitude of sources including overflowing trash cans and other improper waste management, as well as both accidental and intentional littering. Being far from the ocean, many people don’t think about how their trash can end up in our waterways. Weather such as winds and rains can help transport debris into streams and rivers, eventually traveling into the Great Lakes. Once in our environment, these debris items can cause a range of issues, including ingestion by and entanglement of wildlife, hazards for fishermen and boaters, and even simply creating an eyesore on once-beautiful shorelines.

Addressing Marine Debris in the Great Lakes

Posted Tue, 03/14/2017 - 11:30

Meet Sarah Lowe, the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Great Lakes Regional Coordinator! Reach out to Sarah at sarah.lowe@noaa.gov!

The NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Great Lakes region is a large one, encompassing all Great Lakes states— from New York to Minnesota. This region has unique beauty with its complex system of habitats, ranging from the Lakes themselves to their associated wetlands, rivers, and tributaries.  Unfortunately, this landscape is marred by the presence of marine debris. Like many places throughout the country, marine debris is a big problem in the Great Lakes region, impacting the environment and the animals that live there, as well as the Great Lakes’ robust recreational fishing and boating economy. Luckily, there are many efforts currently underway to tackle marine debris in this area. Check out some of the newly-established projects funded by the Marine Debris Program.

Spring Break Means Warming Weather and Marine Debris

Posted Tue, 03/07/2017 - 12:15

Believe it or not, but flowers are already poking their heads out and it’s about time for spring break for students around the country. Whether you’re spending your break in an exotic location or staying local, there are lots of opportunities to spend this time giving back while still having fun.

A great way to both enjoy some outside time and do some good for your environment is to join a shoreline cleanup! There are lots of cleanups happening around the country and across the world, so find one in your area and help pick up some marine debris. No scheduled cleanup near you? Start one yourself by organizing a group of people to clean up your nearby shoreline or street (just remember, safety first!).

Balloons and the Mid-Atlantic

Posted Thu, 03/02/2017 - 11:00

Balloons are a type of marine debris that many people don’t think about. Often used for celebrations or to commemorate special events, balloons are frequently intentionally or accidentally released into the environment. Unfortunately, once they go up, they must also come down; balloons that are released into the air don’t just go away, they either get snagged on something such as tree branches or electrical wires, deflate and make their way back down, or rise until they pop and fall back to Earth where they can create a lot of problems. Balloon debris can be ingested by animals, many of which easily mistake it for real food, and can entangle wildlife, especially balloons with attached ribbons. Balloon debris can even have an economic impact on communities, contributing to dirty beaches which drive away tourists, or causing power outages from mylar balloons covered in metallic paint and their ribbons tangling in power lines. Balloon debris is a national issue and unfortunately, the Mid-Atlantic is not immune.

Marine Debris as a Potential Pathway for Invasive Species: A New MDP Report

Posted Wed, 03/01/2017 - 12:00

The NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) is proud to announce the release of our new report detailing the potential of marine debris to act as a pathway for the introduction of invasive species.

There is mounting concern over the increase in debris in our ocean and the potential for that debris to assist in the spread of non-native species. While the pathways associated with global shipping draw the greatest amount of attention regarding marine invasives, the purpose of this paper is to consider the potential role that marine debris may play in introducing non-native species that may become invasive. This report reviews the scientific literature that exists on the subject and identifies areas where more research is needed.