The NOAA Marine Debris Program Awards Funding to 6 New Projects to Remove Marine Debris

A fisher tosses a derelict crab pot onto a pile.
Derelict crab pots are removed from coastal waters. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Zimmermann, Stockton University)

After a highly competitive review process, the NOAA Marine Debris Program is proud to announce the 6 recipients of our 2022 Marine Debris Removal awards, totaling nearly $2 million in federal funding for marine debris removal efforts in the United States, Mexico, and the U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada border areas. Although prevention is essential in stopping marine debris at its source, removing marine debris is also necessary to address all the debris that is already in the environment. The projects awarded under this nationwide competitive funding opportunity continue the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s commitment to develop impactful, community-driven, and cost-effective projects that benefit coastal habitats, waterways, wildlife, and surrounding communities.

With funding provided by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Implementation Act, the awards also represent the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s commitment to supporting the environmental goals of the USMCA, including the need to take action to prevent and reduce marine debris in order to preserve human health and marine and coastal ecosystems, prevent the loss of biodiversity, and mitigate the costs and impacts of marine debris. 

The 2022 funded projects are:

CAT Action Treasury, Inc. (Mexico, $500,000) will detect, remove, recycle, and report derelict illegal gill nets in the Gillnet Exclusion Zone and associated marine protected areas in Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California. The project will raise awareness about how marine debris affects vaquitas, as well as maintain and analyze a database of located and removed gillnets to assist in the development of Mexico’s National Abandoned, Lost, Discarded Fishing Gear Action Plan.

Hawai‘i Pacific University (Hawai‘i, $260,000) will remove derelict fishing gear from sensitive habitats around the Hawaiian Islands. The project will also provide financial incentives for commercial fishers to collect and bring in derelict fishing gear they encounter during regular fishing operations. 

Innerspace Exploration Team (Washington, $215,000) will reduce ghost fishing by detecting and removing crab pots from Sequim Bay and Discovery Bay. The project will also provide hands-on opportunities for youth and educators to operate uncrewed vehicles for data collection and see firsthand the impact of derelict fishing gear on the marine environment.

Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United, Inc. (Mississippi, $324,998) will provide funds to commercial fishers to properly dispose of derelict fishing gear and other plastic debris they encounter and bring to shore during regular fishing operations. In addition, uncrewed vehicles will be used to conduct monthly surveys at Deer Island in order to locate derelict oyster farming gear for retrieval by licensed oyster farmers.

Ocean Plastics Recovery Project (Alaska, $499,995) will remove shoreline debris in the border region between Southeast Alaska and Canada. The project will collect data about the debris and evaluate whether it can be used within existing recycling mechanisms. Activities from the project will be filmed to create outreach materials.

U.S. Virgin Islands Department of Planning and Natural Resources (U.S. Virgin Islands, $195,000) will conduct cleanups and assessments of marine debris in uninhabited cays and mangrove forests of the U.S. Virgin Islands. The project will train hundreds of citizen scientists in marine debris removal and data techniques and develop new outreach materials for territorial stakeholders, including resource managers, fishers, and boaters, focused on marine debris reduction.

Awarded Removal Projects - Archives

Click the bars below to view projects financed in that year.

2023 Funded Projects

Grantee: Center for Coastal Studies (Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts; $2,718,531) will lead a new coalition of New England nongovernmental organizations to remove or collect, document, and recycle, repurpose, or properly dispose of abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear and end-of-life fishing gear from the Gulf of Maine’s water and shorelines. The project spans the coastlines of Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts and seeks to build capacity and share information across states.
Grantee: Stockton University (New Jersey, $1,429,812) will recover derelict fishing gear and remove abandoned and derelict vessels throughout coastal bays of New Jersey. The project will also build marine debris prevention and removal expertise through collaboration with commercial crabbers, training, rapid response coordination, and dissemination of recovery methods across industries.
Grantee: North Carolina Coastal Federation (North Carolina, $4,500,000) will remove storm-related debris, lost fishing gear, and vessels throughout coastal North Carolina. In addition, the project will seek to prevent marine debris that future storms generate through broad public outreach to increase awareness and encourage more resilient building techniques for waterfront structures.
Grantee: Isla Mar Research Expeditions, LLC (Puerto Rico, $4,000,000) will remove abandoned and derelict vessels throughout Puerto Rico. The project will also establish a coordination strategy for abandoned and derelict vessel prevention, management, and response island-wide.
Grantee: Lynnhaven River NOW (Virginia, $2,944,135) will remove abandoned and derelict vessels from across the coastal zone of Virginia. The project will also use surveys, interviews, and focus groups to gather information to assist in the development of an abandoned and derelict vessel removal and prevention program for the state.
Grantee: University of Florida (Florida, $747,944) will install trash capture devices, litter booms, and monofilament collection bins to intercept litter in partnership with local governments and state aquatic preserves in Pasco and Levy Counties. This project will also develop a toolkit on the implementation of litter interception technologies for municipalities, which will allow the program to expand into other counties.
Grantee: University of Alaska Fairbanks (Alaska, $5,850,000) will partner with Alaska Sea Grant to administer awards for projects that remove large marine debris. The project will carry out seasonal cleanups using vessels to reach debris in remote and high debris accumulation areas, as well as evaluate recycling techniques for marine debris.
Grantee: California Department of Parks and Recreation (California, $268,881) will improve an existing trash boom that captures debris entering the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve from Mexico. The project will reposition the trash boom, install new floats to better reinforce the boom against the water flow, and develop an educational outreach video to share lessons learned and diverse perspectives from each of the three nations represented in the Tijuana River Watershed Valley—the Kumeyaay Nation, Mexico, and the United States.
Grantee: Pacific Coastal Research & Planning (Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and Freely Associated States, $4,000,000) will remove abandoned and derelict vessels in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and large marine debris in the Freely Associated State of Palau. The project will seek to build and establish marine debris removal partnerships in the territories and Freely Associated States.
Grantee: BoatUS Foundation (National, $10,000,000) will administer a national competitive grant program for removal of abandoned and derelict vessels. The project will also develop a national database to track abandoned and derelict vessels, while supporting outreach and education on the issue.
Grantee: National Marine Sanctuary Foundation The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation will remove large marine debris from five national marine sanctuaries and two Tribal ancestral waters located off the coasts of Washington, California, Texas and Louisiana and include: Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and Channel Islands National Park; Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary; Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, in partnership with California State Parks; and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary and Neah Bay, in partnership with the Makah Tribe and Quileute Tribe.
Grantee: Gulf of Mexico Alliance (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas; $7,725,000) will administer a regional competitive grant program for large marine debris removal in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. The project will also remove previously identified abandoned and derelict vessels across Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama.
Grantee: Virginia Institute of Marine Science (National, $8,000,000) will administer a national competitive grant program for the removal of derelict fishing traps. The project will also remove and recycle abandoned traps from Chesapeake Bay, create a national dashboard to standardize data collection, and use the data to assess potential solutions to the ecological and socioeconomic impacts of lost gear.

2021 Funded Projects

Grantee: South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (South Carolina, $97,006) will remove derelict crab traps in intertidal and subtidal areas of South Carolina coastal estuaries, including part of the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge. The project will detect, map, and remove traps, and collected traps will be used to build oyster reef habitat to reduce erosion and habitat loss.
Grantee: Parley Foundation (Gulf of Mexico and Mexican Caribbean, $691,684) will work in six Mexican states to collect and upcycle end-of-life fishing gear, clean up nearly 100,000 pounds of debris in remote areas, and engage with undeserved fishing communities and the general public to raise awareness of marine debris and how to prevent it. The project is focused on areas with reefs and other sensitive habitats, including 11 sites listed as Wetlands of International Importance, one UNESCO World Heritage Site, and five sites designated as UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.
Grantee: Mississippi State University Coastal Research and Extension Center (Mississippi, $208,262) will remove 12 large marine debris items, including eight abandoned or sunken derelict vessels, one travel trailer, and three large accumulations of appliances and tractor tires from the lower Pascagoula River. The project will then monitor the recovery of the impacted ecosystem for two years.
Grantee: Alaska Department of Fish and Game (Alaska, $143,098) will remove, study, and recycle marine debris in the Forrester Island complex in Southeast Alaska. The Forrester Island complex suffers from a high density of marine debris, more than half of which is derelict fishing gear, and supports North America’s largest breeding and birthing grounds for Steller sea lions. The project will also educate commercial fishers and school groups about marine debris in order to help reduce future accumulation of debris.
Grantee: City and Borough of Yakutat, Alaska (Gulf of Alaska, $371,277) will document, remove, and dispose of marine debris along the shoreline of Yakutat, located in the Gulf of Alaska. The project will increase understanding of the types and amount of marine debris impacting five target beaches, resulting in a report that characterizes the removed marine debris. This information will be used to engage local community members in learning about marine debris and ultimately enhancing efforts to prevent marine debris from entering the environment in the first place.
Grantee: Center for Coastal Studies (Massachusetts, $176,490) will locate, remove, and properly dispose of approximately 24 tons of derelict fishing gear in Cape Cod Bay. The project will work with the shellfish industry and local fishermen to remove derelict fishing gear from sensitive habitats along shorelines, breakwaters, shellfish flats, and the seabed. Collected gear will be returned to its owner, repurposed by artists, recycled when possible, or converted to energy.
Grantee: National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (Salish Sea, $225,115) will detect and remove medium- to large-scale marine debris, including derelict fishing gear, along Washington’s outer coast and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The project will also organize six beach cleanup events, create a baseline understanding of marine debris in Grayland, Washington, and work collaboratively with the shellfish industry to address the issue of yellow aquaculture rope, a common debris item in the region.
Grantee: Northwest Straits Foundation (Washington, $166,000) Northwest Straits Foundation will engage with tribal and state commercial crabbers to remove derelict crab traps from Padilla Bay and Anacortes Bay, including waters within the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The project will also develop and implement an outreach campaign to prevent re-accumulation of derelict crab pots.
Grantee: Scuba Dogs Society (Puerto Rico, $107,970) will work with local partners to coordinate year-round coastal cleanups and remove large underwater, coastal, or estuarine debris. The cleanups are part of an action-based educational program offering volunteer and citizen science opportunities for all audiences in Puerto Rico.
Grantee: Ocean Conservancy (North America Pacific Ocean, $631,770) will work to reduce the amount and impact of abandoned, lost, and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) along North America’s Pacific Coast, from Canada to Mexico. Project activities include: launching the North American Net Collection Initiative to collect and transform end-of-life fishing nets into high-value consumer goods; supporting the development of Mexico’s national ALDFG action plan; building trilateral capacity to implement best practices for gear management, loss prevention, and disposal; and identifying hotspots for ALDFG removal in Mexico’s coastal waters.
Grantee: Richardson’s Bay Regional Agency (California, $330,209) will remove approximately 27 abandoned or derelict vessels and floating homes, weighing an estimated 200 tons, from Richardson’s Bay. The project will also work with vessel owners to prevent vessels from becoming derelict or to voluntarily turn in vessels that have become marine debris.
Grantee: Superior Watershed Partnership (Michigan, $122,302) will partner with Upper Peninsula tribes to conduct a marine debris removal and outreach campaign in Michigan. Cleanup events will target high-traffic areas, including harbors, coastal wetlands, river mouths, and recreational areas adjacent to the Lake Superior shoreline. The project will engage residents and visitors through these hands-on removal events and spread educational messages over local media to reach an estimated 70% of the population of the Upper Peninsula.
Grantee: Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund will partner with Surfrider Kauaʻi to conduct weekly “net patrols” on Kauaʻi and Hawaiʻi Islands, quarterly beach cleanups on Hawaiʻi, Kauaʻi, and Maui Islands, four operations to airlift debris from inaccessible areas, and manage derelict net drop-off stations at six locations. The project is expected to remove over 100 metric tons of debris, representing the efforts of more than 1,000 volunteers and almost 8,000 volunteer hours.

2020 Funded Projects

Grantee: Ocean Plastics Recovery Project (Alaska, $205,139) will engage volunteers in a high-visibility, large scale marine debris cleanup in Katmai National Park. The project will explore innovative recycling and recovery processes in order to determine the best recycling methods and likely recycling markets for the collected ocean plastics. Katmai National Park is an ecologically sensitive area which includes marine mammal critical habitat, seabird nesting colonies, and the world’s densest concentration of coastal brown bears.
Grantee: North Carolina Coastal Federation (North Carolina, $121,090) will remove at least 20 abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) in North Carolina’s northeastern estuaries, focusing on sites that are not likely to be cleaned up by private property owners or government agencies. Multiple ADVs located within North Carolina's sounds and estuaries were either purposely abandoned or became derelict after floating away from docks that were destroyed or washed away during hurricanes, such as Irene (2011), Sandy (2012), Arthur (2014), Matthew (2016), Michael (2018), and Dorian (2019).
Grantee: Hawaii Marine Mammal Alliance, Inc. (Hawaii, $52,000) will identify and remove debris from hotspots in nearshore waters of O‘ahu with the help of snorkel and SCUBA divers. The project will engage community volunteers and encourage ocean stewardship in schools and at community events, while reducing the negative impacts of marine debris, in particular derelict fishing gear, on protected marine species and the ecosystem they inhabit in Hawaii.
Grantee: Mariana Islands Nature Alliance
Grantee: Oregon State Marine Board (Oregon, $50,000) will remove abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) from marinas while they are still securely moored and afloat. Removing ADVs at no cost to marinas that agree to implement ADV-prevention practices as part of the voluntary Clean Marina program is a cost-effective removal strategy that will address the environmental and navigational hazards, as well as the financial burden associated with future abandoned and derelict vessels.
Grantee: University of Delaware (Delaware, $225,079) will identify and remove 1,000 derelict crab pots from a recreational blue crab fishery in highly active fishing areas of Indian River Bay, Delaware. The project will also assess how derelict crab pots affect catch rates and habitats to better understand the economic impact such traps have on the fishery, as well as the physical impact of derelict traps in the area.
Grantee: Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program, Inc. (Texas, $104,931) will organize volunteers to locate and remove over 1,000 derelict crab traps in coastal waters from Matagorda Bay to Aransas Bay, as well as collect data to better understand the impacts of derelict crab traps on the mid-Texas coast. Results will be used to engage commercial crabbers in San Antonio Bay in conversations to develop alternatives for reducing the number of lost traps, ultimately reducing the amount of ghost fishing and potential economic losses.
Grantee: California State University Channel Islands (California, $112,499) will remove marine debris from seven remote beaches in the Northern Channel Islands and monitor the accumulation of debris in order to create a longer-term data set. The sustained reduction in marine debris will benefit marine life in the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, including California sea lions, northern fur seals, harbor seals, northern elephant seals, Western snowy plover, shorebirds, and the endangered island fox, and the habitats upon which they depend.
Grantee: The Ocean Foundation (Puerto Rico, $150,000) will locate and remove lost and abandoned fishing gear in southeast Puerto Rico and marine reserve areas. The removal activity will be conducted by local fishermen that already have experience removing derelict fishing gear. The project will also host training opportunities to build capacity for marine debris removal and collaboration among the fishing communities in the target areas.
Grantee: National Marine Sanctuary Foundation (Florida, $134,928) will work with Blue Star operators, dive professionals, recreational divers, and other local partners, such as the Florida Keys Commercial Fishermen’s Association, to remove underwater marine debris, including traps, fishing gear, and trash from Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. The project will engage the public in marine debris awareness and prevention through education and outreach and expects to conduct 70 cleanup trips, removing 21,000 pounds of debris.
Grantee: Ocean Conservancy (Maine, $143,139) will work with the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation to remove derelict fishing gear and large debris from identified hotspots in Maine state waters and build capacity and raise awareness among fishermen and other stakeholders to implement best practices for managing gear and preventing and reporting gear loss. Removed gear will be recycled and/or recovered for energy as appropriate and the lessons learned from this project will be replicated in future workshops around the region when bringing together fishermen and other stakeholders.

2019 Funded Projects

Grantee: North Carolina Coastal Federation
Grantee: University of Florida N/A
Grantee: Dog Island Conservation District N/A
Grantee: Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper (New York, $107,073) will remove surface marine debris in New York’s Niagara River/Lake Erie watershed, conduct river and upland clean-ups, install Reel In and Recycle monofilament bins at popular fishing sites, and host multilingual pollution prevention workshops for the City of Buffalo’s refugee community. The debris will include derelict fishing gear, single-use plastics, and other debris in the waterway.
Grantee: Island Trails Network (Alaska, $122,912) will remove approximately 18 tons (36,150 lbs) of marine debris from coastlines within a 1647-mile area of the Kodiak, Alaska archipelago. This project will also conduct debris monitoring using NOAA protocols and, when possible, recycle collected debris.
Grantee: The Aleut Community of St. Paul Island (Alaska, $113,393) will remove at least 30,000 pounds of marine debris from shoreline and beach habitat. The community will also conduct shoreline monitoring in critical and sensitive habitat for marine mammals including northern fur seals, steller sea lions and harbor seals. This project is the first marine debris removal effort on Otter Island and the first effort to transport debris off St. George Island.
Grantee: Guam Environmental Protection Agency (Guam, $250,000), in partnership with the Guam Department of Agriculture, Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources, will remove a nearly 50-year old tire reef in the Manell-Geus Habitat Focus Area, an area widely used for recreation, fisheries, and commercial tourism. The proposed removal target - a tire reef created in the 1970's by fisheries scientists as an experiment to increase fish stocks - carries the risk of creating more debris that damages sensitive habitats and species and is a source of heavy metal contamination.
Grantee: New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (New York, $150,000) will remove 441,000 pounds of medium-to-large debris at two critical salt marsh sites in Queens, NY. The project consists of three components: 1) contractor removal of large to- medium debris, including at least six boats, 2) a volunteer project to remove smaller debris with approximately 25 volunteers, and 3) pre- and post-removal monitoring to assess improvements to ecosystem health and determine the need for post-removal restoration at the sites.
Grantee: University of the Virgin Islands (U.S. Virgin Islands, $100,000) will remove hurricane-deposited marine debris from vulnerable mangrove shorelines in marine protected areas and NOAA Coral Reef Program Priority Areas in the U.S. Virgin Islands through a series of annual "Great Mangrove Clean-Ups". The project also builds capacity to address future marine debris challenges by developing a territorial Marine Debris Action Plan, a living policy document that will coordinate and prioritize marine debris prevention, removal, and research activities across the Territory.
Grantee: North Carolina Coastal Federation (North Carolina, $249,657) will evaluate and remove marine debris in North Carolina's estuaries that were hardest hit by Hurricane Florence. Additionally, they will develop best management practices for prevention, removal, and disposal of hurricane marine debris, promote resilient building codes for structures such as docks built in public trust waters, and engage stakeholders through public outreach and volunteer cleanups.
Grantee: Pontchartrain Conservancy (Louisiana, $169,259) will remove approximately 6000 derelict crab traps from the Pontchartrain Basin in Louisiana through a partnership with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and community volunteers. The project team will collect biological data on contents, location, and condition of traps, which will be valuable for determining the economic impact of the lost traps.
Grantee: Richardson's Bay Regional Agency (California, $150,000) will remove and abate approximately 25 marine debris vessels, encourage voluntary repairs or removal of marine debris vessels from sensitive habitat, and prevent vessels from becoming marine debris. This project strives to remove more than 250 tons of marine debris, including disruptive anchor chain and toxic liquids and materials, from Richardson’s Bay in California.
Grantee: Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (Washington, $75,000) will inventory, remove, and repurpose (when possible) derelict fishing gear and fishing-related marine debris in the Swinomish Channel and Similk Bay, located within the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community in Washington State. They will also develop and implement a prevention plan to protect the docks, keep them free of gear and debris and provide a monitoring and enforcement mechanism that will ensure that those guidelines are followed.
Grantee: Pacific Coastal Research and Planning ($250,000) will work with a contractor to remove an 83 foot derelict fishing vessel that is grounded in and damaging sensitive coral reef habitat in the Port of Saipan of the Northern Mariana Islands. A local media campaign will be used to highlight the removal project to the public and share ways to prevent marine debris in the future, such as proper storm preparation.

2018 Funded Projects

Grantee: Stockton University ($226,299) will work with crabbers to remove derelict crab pots using low cost sonar in coastal New Jersey. This project builds off previous relationships built within the commercial crabbing industry to engage the younger, next generation fishermen by incorporating best practices into their behaviors.
Grantee: Town of Beaufort ($67,889) will remove over 46,000 pounds of debris, including abandoned moorings, derelict vessels, fishing gear, and other large debris from the waters adjacent to the Rachel Carson Reserve in North Carolina. The project builds on previous efforts in the reserve to map and prioritize debris for removal.
Grantee: Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association ($100,553) will implement land-based marine debris capture and removal through mechanical and hand-removal methods within the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve in California. This project builds on previous efforts and will include continued engagement with the Mexican Government, industry leads, Mexican NGOs, and a broad section of the international community.
Grantee: Weeks Bay Foundation, Inc. ($50,000) will remove five abandoned and derelict vessels from the Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Alabama, as well as perform outreach in the surrounding community on the damage these vessels cause, and how to properly report an abandoned vessel.
Grantee: Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies ($99,300) will remove a large swath of man-made and woody debris from the Pearl River and the nearby Bogue Chitto National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi. The removal is key to restore hydrologic functions to the river and provide passage for fish.
Grantee: Hawai’i Wildlife Fund ($231,660) will remove 112 metric tons of derelict fishing gear and other medium and large scale debris from the shorelines of Hawai’i, Kaua'i, Maui, and Lana'i islands through a derelict net patrol and community-based cleanup events. The nets will be disposed of through the Nets-to-Energy program, which incinerates the nets for energy.
Grantee: Ocean Aid 360, Inc. ($89,295) will mobilize a diverse group of boaters, anglers, industry, and more to remove 15,000 pounds of derelict crab traps and other fishing gear from Florida’s Tampa Bay estuary. Following the removal activities, data will be collected on the species removed from the crab traps.
Grantee: Northwest Straits Marine Foundation ($221,200) will build on previous efforts to remove at least 1,000 derelict crab pots from the Salish Sea in Washington State. The project will include a robust outreach campaign targeting recreational fishers, preventing the reaccumulation of crab pots.
Grantee: Makah Indian Tribe of the Makah Indian Reservation ($50,000) will build off of efforts in Washington State to remove derelict fishing gear from Washington’s outer coast, and aims to develop a sustainable tribal fisheries derelict pot reporting and recovery program within Makah Fisheries Management.
Grantee: Partners for Clean Streams, Inc. ($62,904) will remove 30,000 pounds of marine debris from the Maumee River and other tributaries in the greater Toledo, Ohio metropolitan area, helping to prevent debris from impacting western Lake Erie. Partners for Clean Streams will work closely with partners to detect, assess, and coordinate removal of this marine debris with volunteers through the "Clean Your Streams" program.
Grantee: National Audubon Society, Inc. ($127,964) will remove marine debris, including derelict fishing gear and shoreline debris, from eight islands to benefit seabird nesting habitat in Maine. The project will also conduct outreach to coastal residents and engage volunteers in shoreline cleanups.
Grantee: Center for Coastal Studies, Inc. ($128,440) will remove 16 tons of derelict fishing gear from Cape Cod Bay, and the nearby Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts. The project will engage commercial and recreational fishers, students, and other coastal interest groups in the removal activities.

2017 Funded Projects

Grantee: Save Our Shores ($52,032) will organize volunteer cleanups both from land and water to remove a minimum of seven tons of debris from three waterways leading into the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Monterey, California. Additionally, they will conduct education programs in schools and outreach with communities adjacent to their target waterways to raise awareness of the issue and the threat it poses to the sanctuary.
Grantee: The County of Prince George ($150,000) will install two floating litter traps in the Anacostia River in Maryland to reduce the debris loads flowing downstream towards the Potomac River and eventually the Chesapeake Bay. The County will also monitor the effectiveness of this removal approach, and increase public awareness of marine debris through local outreach and education programs.
Grantee: North Carolina Coastal Federation Inc. ($64,474) will remove 250 cubic meters of aquaculture debris from 30 acres of sensitive coastal habitats near Harkers Island, North Carolina. In addition, they will develop a set of best management practices for prevention, removal, and disposal of aquaculture debris to help prevent future generations of debris from aquaculture activities.
Grantee: Mobile Baykeeper Inc. ($56,013) will conduct an initial debris assessment, hold extensive debris removal cleanups, and monitor One Mile Creek, in Mobile, Alabama. They will also work to increase awareness about the issue with a campaign targeted towards the City of Mobile’s Mardi Gras celebration and will install temporary storm drain debris barriers during Mardi Gras in 2017 and 2018 to reduce debris entering the waterways.
Grantee: Island Trails Network ($71,479) will work with an estimated 200 community volunteers and students to remove 8-12 tons from an 80-mile stretch of coastline, totaling about 28 linear miles, on northeastern Kodiak Island, Alaska. This funding allows ITN to build off of previous community-based removal efforts on neighboring Tugidak and Shuyak Islands.
Grantee: The Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Suffolk County ($120,000) will continue their successful and long-running efforts to remove and quantify the extent and distribution of derelict lobster gear in the New York and Connecticut waters of Long Island Sound. Working with commercial lobstermen, the project will remove over 100 metric tons of derelict gear debris.
Grantee: Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, Inc. ($149,260) will survey, map, and remove derelict crab pots in New Jersey’s southern coastal bays, building off of the success and lessons learned from a previously-funded NOAA Marine Debris Program grant.
Grantee: Cleveland Metroparks ($108,100) will remove 6,250 tons of concrete slabs and metal from Euclid Beach Park on the shores of Lake Erie. They will also be conducting at least 10 volunteer beach cleanups each year of the project and creating an educational display to help the public understand the effects of plastic pollution in Lake Erie.
Grantee: The Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority ($67,000) will remove ~20 tons of marine debris, largely in the form of concrete rubble, from the shoreline and surrounding waters of an industrial waste site in the City of Camden, New Jersey. The removal is key for converting the site into a public park and restoring coastal habitat.
Grantee: The Makah Indian Tribe of the Makah Indian Reservation ($150,000) will remove three derelict fishing vessels from Neah Bay, Washington, in order to prevent pollution, increase economic opportunities for commercial and recreational vessels, and fulfill tribal responsibilities with respect to managing resources and protecting tribal waters.

2016 Funded Projects

Grantee: Sitka Sound Science Center ($175,000) will work with teams of local, trained crew and volunteers to remove approximately 33 tons of marine debris from shorelines in and around the communities of Port Heiden, St. Paul, and Savoonga in the Bering Sea.
Grantee: Douglas Indian Association ($33,812) will survey, map, and remove up to 400 derelict crab pots from the Gastineau Channel between Douglas Island and Juneau, Alaska.
Grantee: North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality ($40,768) will conduct unmanned aerial surveys to identify and map medium and large marine debris items to prioritize for removal within the Rachel Carson Reserve component of the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve. Approximately six tons of priority marine debris will be removed and adjacent habitat will be monitored for recovery.
Grantee: Center for Coastal Studies ($95,283) will work with the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries as well as commercial and recreational fishermen to identity, remove, document, and properly dispose of approximately 17 tons of derelict fishing gear from Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay.
Grantee: Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources ($66,672) will assess, map, and remove five 30- to 46-foot abandoned and derelict vessels in Fajardo Bay, Puerto Rico. The adjacent coral and seagrass habitats will then be monitored for recovery. Outreach with the boating community will also be conducted to educate boaters about how to prevent vessel groundings and derelict vessels.
Grantee: Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association ($90,000) will conduct maintenance and provide upgrades to the existing trash capture infrastructure in the Goat Canyon Sediment Basin of the U.S. portion of the Tijuana River. They will also lead two month-long community cleanup events to remove an estimated five tons of debris from surrounding natural habitats. Outreach regarding waste management and marine debris will be conducted with stakeholders in Mexico through binational communication.
Grantee: California State University Channel Islands ($99,928) will conduct monthly and quarterly marine debris shoreline accumulation surveys at mainland California and Channel Island beaches and will remove 19 tons of marine debris. The University will also implement an awareness campaign to prevent lobster pot loss and will conduct education and outreach with K-12 and undergraduate students.
Grantee: University of Wisconsin Sea Grant ($36,599) will implement strategies to identify and locate derelict fishing nets for removal, including the development and distribution of derelict net marking kits for local anglers and the installation of sonar and video equipment on vessels. At least ten large nets totaling at least five tons will be removed from Lake Superior.
Grantee: New Jersey Audubon Society ($176,849) will survey, map, and remove approximately 2,000 derelict crab pots from the Cape May area of Delaware Bay, New Jersey’s southern coastal bays, and the Cape May artificial reef. They will also conduct outreach with local crabbers and the general public to prevent future derelict fishing gear.
Grantee: Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Division of Fish and Wildlife ($90,000) will work with local commercial crabbers to survey, map, and remove up to 2,000 derelict crab pots from coastal areas near Dover, on the Delaware side of Delaware Bay. Education and outreach with the recreational boating and crabbing communities will also be conducted to prevent future derelict fishing gear.
Grantee: Galveston Bay Foundation ($42,500) will remove six abandoned and derelict vessels and one large bundle of derelict pilings from Chocolate Bayou in Galveston Bay, Texas.
Grantee: Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources ($36,112) will survey and map derelict crab traps in Upper Mobile Bay, Portersville Bay, Heron Bay, Weeks Bay, Wolf Bay, and Perdido Bay in Alabama, then will lead three volunteer derelict crab trap removal events to remove approximately 1,050 crab traps.
Grantee: Marine Board, Oregon State ($55,000) will remove the 70-foot, 78-ton F/V Western, which sank in Coos Bay in 2015. They will also lead an Abandoned and Derelict Vessel Task Force to prevent future abandoned and derelict vessels and will develop an inventory of abandoned and derelict vessels along the Oregon coast.