Posts tagged with

Florida & the Caribbean

The First Ever Large-Scale Mangrove Cleanup in the U.S. Virgin Islands Nets Thousands of Pounds of Debris krista.e.stegemann Tue, 05/15/2018 - 11:00

By: Kristin Wilson Grimes, Ph.D., Guest Blogger and Research Assistant Professor of Watershed Ecology at the University of the Virgin Islands; and Elisa Bryan-Lacatena, Guest Blogger and Communications Specialist at the Virgin Islands Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research

On April 21, 2018, a group of 126 volunteers removed more than 3,000 pounds of marine debris in the “Great Mangrove Cleanup,” the first large-scale community cleanup in the St. Thomas East End Reserves (STEER), a marine protected area on the east end of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). These mangrove shorelines are difficult to get to, which makes them especially difficult to clean, and after the twin Category 5 Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the territory last September, these coastlines are chock-full of marine debris. The vast majority of debris we gathered came from land-based sources (90-95% of items) and most of the items were plastic (65-70%). These patterns are consistent with those observed globally. The single item we collected the most of were plastic beverage bottles– 1,765 of them! For such a small area of coastline, that’s a lot, and it tells us that if we want to reduce marine debris in the USVI, we should be thinking about what we are drinking out of, where we are disposing of it, and where it might end up.

Abandoned and Derelict Vessels in Florida and the Caribbean krista.e.stegemann Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:00

Abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) are a marine debris problem in many places around the United States, and pose a particular problem in Florida and the Caribbean. In this region, which boasts both beautiful weather and waters, a high number of recreational and commercial boaters unfortunately equals a high number of ADVs. These large marine debris items range in size from small recreational vessels to large steel-hulled commercial ships, but the majority of the ADVs in the region are from recreational use. These vessels may be abandoned or become derelict at the end of their useful life, after damage from storms, or when boat owners cannot keep up with their maintenance due to time and economic constraints. Unfortunately, the removal of debris items like ADVs is extremely costly and logistically difficult, so many ADVs remain where they are and these vessels can lead to all sorts of problems.

Addressing Marine Debris in Florida and the Caribbean

Posted Tue, 06/20/2017 - 10:30

Meet Charles Grisafi, the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Florida and Caribbean Regional Coordinator! Reach out to Charles at charles.grisafi@noaa.gov!

Florida and the Caribbean are full of palm trees, beautiful beaches, and clear waters. Unfortunately, like many coastal areas around the world, the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s newest region is also plagued with marine debris. Luckily, there are several efforts currently underway to address this problem. Check out two newly-established projects in the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Florida & the Caribbean Region and visit our website for more.

Florida Marine Debris Reduction Guidance Plan Released krista.e.stegemann 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.

Florida Incident Waterway Debris Response: A New Comprehensive Guide for the State krista.e.stegemann 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.

Lobster Trap Debris in the Florida Keys: A Look Back

Posted Fri, 04/29/2016 - 10:29

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 Southeast region.

Derelict fishing gear can cause lots of problems, including damaging important and sensitive habitats, ghost fishing, and posing hazards to navigation. Unfortunately, derelict commercial lobster and crab traps are a prominent type of marine debris in the Florida Keys.

A New Study Looks at Derelict Traps in the Florida Keys

Posted Thu, 04/28/2016 - 02:56

Research is an important part of our fight against marine debris, as it allows us to learn more about the topic and be better able to target and address it in the future. Thanks to a new study by our very own Chief Scientist, Amy Uhrin, we now know a little more about derelict lobster traps and how they impact habitat in the Florida Keys. Read all about it and get the link to the scientific paper in this NOAA Response and Restoration blog post.

Cleaning Up the Caribbean krista.e.stegemann 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.

Scuba Dogs Society Recycles and Removes Debris in Puerto Rico krista.e.stegemann 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.