Large Scale Marine Debris Removal in Beaufort, NC.

Through a grant from NOAA's Marine Debris Program, N.C. Coastal Reserve, the Town of Beaufort, and TowBoatUS Beaufort removed thousands of tons of large scale marine debris and conducted an abandoned vessel clean-up. BoatUS Foundation documented this effort and highlights this amazing project's impact.

Transcript

00:00 So I hope that you'll consider what the

00:02 work that's been done here and Beaufort

00:03 is kind of a benchmark for for other

00:05 things and the template that you can use

00:06 in other locations. (Rett Newton, Mayor of Beaufort, NC speaking) It's twofold right

00:09 you're cleaning up the waterways but

00:11 this is a public health issue and I

00:12 actually add a third isn't this good for

00:15 commerce wouldn't people want to come to

00:17 Beaufort to a clean water of coastal

00:19 community the answer is clearly yes. (Paula Gillikin, Central Site Manager speaking) to

00:21 undertake a project like this first you

00:24 need to understand the extent of the

00:26 problem so collecting data on the

00:28 problem understanding how much debris

00:30 there is and what the risk is to the

00:33 environment and people and then knowing

00:35 how many resources you need to address

00:37 that problem. We couldn't do a project

00:40 like this without great partnerships and

00:44 I think we have the best example of

00:47 partnership working well in the Beaufort

00:50 area with this project. We have the

00:53 coastal reserve and it's protected

00:56 Nature Reserve which is used as an

00:58 outdoor laboratory in an outdoor

01:00 classroom and we have overlapping waters

01:03 with the jurisdiction of the Town of

01:06 Beaufort. So we're both invested in the

01:09 issue for a lot of the same reasons.

01:11 We're both passionate about keeping our

01:14 environment beautiful and clean and

01:17 available for public use. (Lee Skykes, Atlantic Coast Marine Group, Inc. speaking) This project

01:21 showed how local organizers can reach

01:26 out within the community and find

01:28 various stakeholders that had unique

01:30 talents and skill sets to take an idea

01:34 and make it a viable project. And that's

01:37 what Beaufort did here. When the reserve

01:41 came to me and wanted me to get involved

01:44 with this project I said not only are we

01:46 gonna get involved from the operation

01:48 side but we're gonna get involved on the

01:50 money side too. In return we matched a

01:52 lot of money to help pull this off

01:54 because this was a big project. (Dr. Liz DeMattia, Research Scientist speaking) It's been

01:57 really fun to work with NOAA on this

02:00 project because our students can pick up

02:03 small pieces of debris but as the larger

02:06 abandoned derelict vessels

02:08 and other pieces that our students can't

02:11 pick up but that we all see when we walk

02:13 on the beaches or walk in downtown

02:15 Beaufort, this partnership allows greater

02:18 resources to take some of those out and

02:21 actually clean up our beaches from some

02:23 of the bigger things that we as

02:25 individual citizens can't do. (Lee Skykes, Atlantic Coast Marine Group, Inc. speaking) The risk

02:29 and dangers involved in a project like

02:31 this are kinda at every stage. You've got

02:34 guys underneath the water working you're

02:36 taking an item that is decomposing so

02:40 it's not as structurally intact so when

02:43 it comes up something may break and

02:45 separate. And then once you successfully

02:47 get it to the surface then you have to

02:49 get it ashore and the towing operation

02:52 of towing a partially submerged boat or

02:54 towing a piece of a boat presents its

02:57 own risk. Then when you go to shore side

02:59 trying to crane this out and a lot of

03:02 these vessels if you can just imagine in

03:05 your head that it's like wet cardboard.

03:06 So when you go to take the load it kind

03:09 of settles in the straps and it moves on

03:12 you a little bit and then you have to go

03:14 through the dismantling and disposing of

03:17 it. (Dr. Liz DeMattia, Research Scientist speaking) And some of the derelict vessels and

03:21 big pieces can pollute, right, so rubber

03:24 overtime those smaller pieces of plastic

03:27 and break up into smaller pieces of

03:29 plastic and that can enter our food

03:31 chain. Getting rid of the bigger pieces

03:33 not only improves the beauty of the area

03:37 but also decreases the probability that

03:39 any of the pollutants will break up and

03:42 enter our food chain in the ocean.

03:44 (Paula Gillikin, Central Site Manager speaking) Vessels are a problem for people they're

03:47 problem for the water and they're

03:48 problem for a wildlife. (Lee Skykes, Atlantic Coast Marine Group, Inc. speaking) I've got two

03:51 little kids they like to swim and play

03:53 on the island over there, I don't want

03:55 them getting cut up on debris there's a

03:58 lot of families that are using these

03:59 shorelines and using these waters. (Kyle Garner, Planning & Inspections speaking) We've

04:02 been extremely pleased we had no idea

04:04 that we'd be this successful this short

04:07 of time into the project. We've removed

04:09 thousands of pounds of debris as well

04:12 some abandoned vessels. We're already

04:15 starting to hear positive comments from

04:16 our community and the budding community.

04:18 (Rett Newton, Mayor of Beaufort, NC speaking) A large part of this is the education

04:22 just making sure that they understand

04:23 sometimes marine debris can be out of

04:25 sight out of mind but it doesn't mean

04:26 it's not there

04:27 doesn't mean that it's not impacting us.

04:29 (Paula Gillikin, Central Site Manager speaking) We want to bring the public out to the

04:31 Nature Reserve out to the Rachel Carson

04:33 Reserve and have them participate in

04:36 marine debris cleanups, have them

04:38 invested as a part of the project so

04:42 that they understand marine debris

04:43 issues better, and we'll go home and

04:46 think about perhaps the products that

04:49 they're using that can contribute to

04:51 marine debris. Start at home securing

04:54 your debris in the proper way.

04:56 Making sure it's not overflowing in your

04:58 recycling bin think about the things

05:00 that you use in your home and instead of

05:02 putting those vegetables in a plastic

05:04 bag at the grocery store try just

05:06 putting them in a reusable bag and then

05:08 you won't have to worry about that bag

05:09 getting away from you. (Rett Newton, Mayor of Beaufort, NC speaking) You’ve got the federal level

05:12 you've got the state level you've got

05:13 the municipal level and you've got

05:15 commercial entities and you've got

05:17 academic entities that are involved as

05:19 well.

05:19 And this is all part of a clean water

05:21 coastal community.