Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
During the 2005 hurricane season, hurricanes Katrina and Rita inflicted severe damage on the Gulf of Mexico coastal region and deposited extensive amounts of debris over various areas of the Gulf Coast. Submerged marine debris poses a hazard to vessel traffic and can adversely affect commercially viable fishing grounds. To address this problem, Congress appropriated funds to survey areas affected by submerged marine debris, tasking NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey and Office of Response and Restoration to conduct offshore surveys, compile and disseminate project data, conduct marine debris risk assessments, and lead outreach activities.
In total, the project team surveyed more than 1,500 square nautical miles of nearshore waters across Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, and located and mapped more than 7,100 individual items.