Federal funding backed by matching grants has the Alaska Marine Stewardship Foundation on target to clean up another 51.6 metric tons of marine debris in 2015, in or adjacent to state and federal critical habitat areas in Alaska.
The $200,000 grant was announced in early October for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program. It will be used, along with the matching funds from community development quota programs, to remove debris at St. George, Nelson Lagoon, Nikolski, Port Heiden and Gambell.
NOAA allocated a total of $1,275,000 nationwide in similar grants.
Since 2006, this program has funded 87 marine debris removal projects, removing more than 4,800 metric tons of marine debris.
Matching funds came from the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association, Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp., and Norton Sound Economic Development Corp.
Because funding arrives late in the year, NOAA funds for fiscal 2013 were used for 2014 cleanup and funds allocated in 2014 will be used next year, said Dave Gaudet, executive director of AMSF.
Gaudet is a retired Alaska Department of Fish and Game fisheries biologist and a commercial salmon fish harvester. He joined AMSF as marine debris program coordinator in early 2009 and grew the organization through expanded projects and debris research.
Gaudet has a bachelor’s degree in fisheries management from the University of Wisconsin at Steven’s Point and a master’s degree in fisheries science from the University of Washington.
AMSF, formerly known as the Marine Conservation Alliance Foundation, promotes conservation and restoration of Alaska’s coastlines through marine debris cleanup and public outreach. Through 2011, AMSF’s work has cleaned 1,794.8 miles of shoreline, removing 2,206,152 pounds of debris.
More information on the foundation’s work is at its website, (www.alaskamsf.org).