One year ago today, the NOAA Marine Debris Program announced the launch of the “Get Started Toolbox” for our Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project (MDMAP)! Since then, the Toolbox has been visited thousands of times for use as a resource by citizen science volunteers across the country. The Toolbox provides tutorials that cover the basics of the MDMAP, a collection of protocol documents and user guides, data analysis tools, a searchable photo gallery of marine debris items, answers to frequently asked questions, and even a quiz to test your MDMAP knowledge.
The creation of the “Get Started Toolbox” was inspired by the increased interest and participation that we’ve seen in the MDMAP since its launch in 2012. The MDMAP is our flagship citizen science initiative that engages partner organizations and volunteers across the nation in completing shoreline marine debris surveys. Repeated, standardized shoreline surveys such as those performed as part of the MDMAP provide crucial data to help us better understand marine debris and how to address it, assess the impact of marine debris prevention efforts, and identify priority targets for future mitigation initiatives. We are so pleased and humbled by the dedication of our MDMAP participants that are out on their shorelines once a month, collecting data on the types and abundances of marine debris at set shoreline sites. We are happy that the “Get Started Toolbox” has been a useful resource for our amazing volunteers!
Learn more about the MDMAP by checking out the “Get Started Toolbox” on our website! If you’d like to get involved, but the MDMAP seems like too much of a commitment, we encourage you to download and use the Marine Debris Tracker App to easily report marine debris sightings at any time right from your smartphone!