Mardi Gras season is one of the south’s most anticipated traditions, with costumes, beads, parades, and balls, the Mississippi Gulf Coast is alive with festivities. Unfortunately, these beloved celebrations leave behind large amounts of trash that takes days to pick up. Debris that is left in streets and on sidewalks can be blown or washed into storm drains, causing blockage that increases flooding, or into the local environment creating a hazard to wildlife.
In 1969, a team of Guam fisheries scientists decided to install an artificial tire reef within Cocos Lagoon as a way to reuse old rubber tires. The experiment was intended to increase fish stocks at two different areas within the lagoon. However, after four years of close monitoring, the scientists decided to discontinue the project since it did not demonstrably improve fish stocks as intended. Over fifty years later, the tire reef still sits on the bottom of the lagoon.
The Pacific Ocean bonds and connects many islands and people throughout the region. These communities share in the art and science of traditional navigation, which has fostered an intimate attachment to the ocean over many generations. Today, these island communities also share in the struggle of mitigating marine debris as they work to protect the ocean.
Valentine’s Day is a day all about showing your love and appreciation. At the NOAA Marine Debris Program, there’s nothing that we are more grateful for than the tremendous resources our ocean and Great Lakes have to offer. From giving us good food, a place to play, and the oxygen we breathe, these spectacular environments make the perfect Valentine every year.
Today, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced the 2020 Request for Proposals from the Fishing for Energy Partnership. The NOAA Marine Debris Program is pleased to be part of this collaboration, along with NFWF and Covanta, to provide up to $500,000 in grant funding to support strategies that reduce the impacts of derelict fishing gear on marine and coastal environments and navigational safety.