Environmental programs in Alaska, California, Oregon and Washington state are among the 23 entities awarded marine debris prevention and cleanup funds announced by the highly competitive NOAA Marine Debris Program. The $2.7 million in federal funds are matched by other contributors, bringing the total investment in these projects to about $5.9 million. The prevention projects range from efforts to reduce the use of packing bands that have entangled marine wildlife in the area of St. Paul Island, Alaska, to a youth-led education project to reduce barriers to plastic pollution reduction and waste prevention in the Duwamish River area of Washington State.
The Aleut Community of St. Paul’s $74,983 grant includes a localized campaign to cut plastic packing band lops prior to disposal, volunteer data collection and creation of messages to encourage industry to invest in environmentally friendly materials and cut their loops.
The Alaska North Slope Borough project, with $92,183 in NOAA funds, hopes to raise awareness of local problems with marine debris found in stomachs of bowhead whales, polar bears and other marine life.
The Washington State project will use three cohorts of a youth corps to conduct community outreach, create and present videos and develop recommendations for decision-makers.
Marine debris removal projects range from the Ocean Plastics Recovery Project in Alaska to engage volunteers in a high-visibility, large scale marine debris cleanup at Katmai National Park.
to the Oregon State Marine Board project to remove abandoned and derelict vessels from marinas while they are still securely moored and afloat. The Ocean Plastics project received a $205,139 NOAA grant and the Oregon project $50,000.
The Ocean Plastics Recovery Project at Katmai National Park will explore recycling and recovery processes to determine the best recycling methods and likely recycling markets for collected ocean plastics. Katmai is an ecologically sensitive area that includes marine mammal critical habitat, seabird nesting colonies and the world’s most dense concentration of coastal brown bears.
California State University received $112,499 to remove marine debris from seven remote beaches in the Northern Channel Islands and to monitor accumulation of debris in order to create a longer-term data set. Project managers say sustained reduction of marine debris will benefit marine life in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.
The Oregon State Marine Board, with $50,000 in NOAA funds, will remove abandoned and derelict vessels at no cost to marinas who agree to implement ADV-prevention practices, as part of the voluntary Clean Marina project.