A crew of nine on two small inflatable boats haul a mass of derelict nets out of the water.


The Marine Debris Program offers funding that supports locally driven, community-based marine debris removal projects. These projects benefit coastal habitat, waterways, and wildlife including migratory fish.

Active Removal Projects

Completed Removal Projects - Archives

Click the bars below to view completed projects from that year.

2021 Projects

A pile of recovered lobster traps on the back of a docked vessel.

The Center for Coastal Studies will identify, remove, and properly dispose of derelict fishing gear from sensitive areas along shorelines, breakwaters, shellfish flats, and in Cape Cod Bay.

2020 Projects

A crew of people holding filled garbage bags standing at the shoreline and watching an incoming small boat.

The Ocean Plastics Recovery Project and partners will remove and analyze debris from the Katmai National Park, as well as evaluate the best methods for recycling and sustainable disposal.

An abandoned and derelict vessel partially submerged and stuck in a marsh.

The North Carolina Coastal Federation will remove abandoned and derelict vessels, derelict fishing gear, and other marine debris from the Albemarle-Pamlico estuary and Outer Banks of North Carolina.

A Hawaii Marine Animal Response staff member speaking to a child and adult sitting on timber overlooking the ocean.

Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response carried out a project to reduce the negative impacts of marine debris on protected marine species and coastal habitats of O‘ahu through the detection and removal of derelict recreational fishing gear.

A derelict vessel tied to a dock.

The Oregon State Marine Board, through its Certified Clean Marina Program, is working to increase the number of abandoned and derelict vessels they can remove over the course of a year.

A person on a boat looking at a tablet screen that shows the location of crab pots.

The University of Delaware is leading the removal of 1000 derelict crab pots from up to four heavily used recreational fishing areas in Delaware’s Indian River Bay.

A fishing vessel loaded with derelict fishing gear.

The Ocean Foundation and Conservación ConCiencia are removing harmful derelict fishing gear from the waters around Puerto Rico while building capacity within the U.S. Virgin Islands to address marine debris in the region.

A diver collecting underwater marine debris.

The National Marine Sanctuary Foundation is collaborating with local dive operators to remove harmful marine debris from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, while engaging the local community to prevent future debris.

2019 Projects

A derelict vessel on its side and partially submerged in the water.

The North Carolina Coastal Federation will remove over 40 abandoned and derelict vessels resulting from Hurricane Florence from the Central and Southeast regions of the North Carolina Coast.

Marine debris piled high along a shore.

University of Florida and Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will remove debris from vessels and structures generated by Hurricane Michael in St. Andrew, St. Joseph, and Apalachicola Bays.

A derelict vessel grounded on the shore.

The City of Mexico Beach is completing an assessment of debris remaining on the shoreline and nearshore waters from Hurricane Michael and developing a plan for removal and disposal.

Child looking at hurricane debris on the beach.

Dog Island Conservation District will remove debris from Hurricane Michael and restore two miles of impacted coastal habitat on Dog Island, Florida.

15 people stand together for a picture holding up a small sign that says "Fishing for Energy".

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is planning to remove an estimated 2,000 lbs of marine debris from artificial reefs within the Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves.

A person paddling a kayak smiles for a picture. A laundry basket lined with a black garbage bag has been attached to the front of the kayak.

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper will lead volunteer marine debris removal efforts that consist of surface debris removal in the Niagara River/Lake Erie watershed, install Reel In and Recycle monofilament bins at popular fishing sites, and host multilingual pollution prevention workshops for the City of Buffalo’s refugee fishing community.

A coastal view of Alaska where the tide is out and exposes a muddy beach. On the beach rests drift wood and plastic debris.

Island Trails Network will expand the range of an already funded cleanup operation targeting “entangling” debris. This project will build off of previous cleanup efforts in the Kodiak Archipelago to remove debris from a wide range of shoreline through three primary effort areas.

A SCUBA diver swims over a very large pile of 2,482 tires all resting on the seafloor.

The Guam Environmental Protection Agency alongside many partners, will work to remove an artificial reef that consists of 2,482 tires located in Cocos Lagoon, Guam.

Volunteers stand together in a large group and smile for a picture.

This project will remove hurricane-deposited marine debris from vulnerable mangrove shorelines, through a series of cleanups called “Great Mangrove Cleanups”, in marine protected areas and NOAA Coral Reef Program Priority Areas on St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A large, messy pile of lumber being collected with heavy machinery.

The North Carolina Coastal Federation and project partners will remove over 70,000 pounds (about 35 tons) of marine debris left in the wake of Hurricane Florence.

Seven people organize piles of wire crab traps on a pier in Louisiana.

The Pontchartrain Conservancy, partnering with other local agencies and volunteers, will remove thousands of derelict crab traps from the Lake Pontchartrain Basin. They will also provide data to analyze the economic impact of derelict crab traps on the Louisiana blue crab fishery.

A view from high up looking over Richardson Bay in California during a sunrise.

Richardson’s Bay Regional Agency removed approximately 364 metric tons of abandoned and derelict vessels from Richardson Bay, located within the San Francisco Bay area.

A man dressed in all orange stands in a boat holding a pile of yellow rope.

Island Trails Network is working to reduce the entanglement and mortality of whales, Steller sea lions, and other marine mammals and increase awareness of the impact of entangling debris.

Two men stand on a beach next to a pile of collected crab traps.

The Ocean Foundation is collaborating with fishing groups, the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, and local non-governmental organizations to address undocumented and derelict fishing traps in Puerto Rico. 

A derelict vessel in the background while several people swim in a beautiful lagoon.

Pacific Coastal Research & Planning coordinated the removal of a derelict fishing vessel from the lagoonal reef on the island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

2018 Projects

Man with crab pots.

Stockton University is continuing fisher-led derelict crab pot removal from southern New Jersey coastal bays and bridging the generational gap through peer-to-peer mentoring of local crabbers.

Derelict vessels on shore.

The Town of Beaufort, NC, in partnership with the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve, is improving habitats through the removal of illegal and abandoned moorings, derelict vessels, derelict fishing gear, and other medium and large debris items.

Trash boom in the Tijuana River.

The Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association expanded on previous efforts to address trash and marine debris in the Tijuana River Valley by improving trash capture and removal, and implementing novel outreach and prevention programs in Mexico.

Derelict vessel stuck in marsh.

The Weeks Bay Foundation and Weeks Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve worked to remove several abandoned boats and large marine debris from Weeks Bay and its tributaries.

Logs and debris blocking a river.

This project will combine efforts to remove man-made debris from the Pearl River to restore hydrologic functions to the river, provide fish passage to the endangered Gulf Sturgeon and other anadromous species, and restore freshwater flow downstream.

Pile of derelict fishing gear on a beach.

Over a course of three years, Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund, in partnership with Surfrider Foundation’s Kaua‘i Chapter (SFK) and Pūlama Lānaʻi, will remove derelict fishing gear and medium- to large-scale marine debris items from along impacted coastlines of Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i, Maui, and Lānaʻi.

Man pulling derelict trap into a boat.

Ocean Aid 360 and Coastal Conservation Association Florida conducted awareness campaigns and marine debris removal competitions in Florida’s Tampa Bay estuary.

Derelict crab pots.

The Northwest Straits Foundation and its partners are conducting a three-year derelict crab pot survey and removal project supplemented with a targeted outreach campaign to recreational crabbers in the Washington marine waters of the Salish Sea.

Man pulling up derelict gear.

This project removes derelict crab pots and lines from Tribal fishing grounds, develops a Tribal fisheries derelict crab pot reporting and recovery program, and conducts outreach to Tribal fishers and the community.

Volunteers posing with trash.

This project is removing at least 30,000 pounds of marine debris from the Maumee River and other tributaries in the greater Toledo area. Partners for Clean Streams is working with partners to detect, assess, and coordinate removal of marine debris to prevent impacts to important fishery habitats.

Pile of marine debris on a shore.

The National Audubon Society is working on eight Maine islands to remove marine debris and study the accumulation of debris on the islands. In partnership with the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation, they will also aim to reduce the rate of accumulation through at-sea removal of derelict fishing gear.

Boat full of marine debris.

The Center for Coastal Studies, located in Provincetown, Massachusetts, mobilized volunteers to identify, document, and properly dispose of derelict fishing gear from Cape Cod Bay and the Cape Cod National Seashore.

2017 Projects

Volunteers kayaking nearshore to clean up debris.

Save Our Shores removed large debris items from difficult-to-access areas of three major watersheds that feed into Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Infographic saying: Let’s make a Litter-Free Prince George’s County.

Prince George’s County is working to design, install, and monitor the success of two trash traps along Maryland’s Anacostia River watershed, as well as conduct local outreach.

Five volunteers stand in a boat loaded with debris.

The North Carolina Coastal Federation removed derelict aquaculture fishing gear from areas adjacent to Harkers Island, NC, and worked with stakeholders to develop best management practices for disposal and prevention of aquaculture marine debris.

Project participants display collected debris from One Mile Creek, including Mardi Gras beads. (Photo Credit: Mobile Baykeeper)

The Mobile Baykeeper helped Mobile, AL, “Move Toward a Litter-Free Mardi Gras” by organizing cleanups, implementing a media campaign, and purchasing temporary litter barriers for storm drains.

Plastic debris on a rocky beach.

Island Trails Network lead volunteers to remove marine debris on shorelines accessible from the road system in and around Kodiak, Alaska.

A boat hauling collected derelict/abandoned gear back to shore.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension Marine Program worked to survey and remove derelict lobster traps in Central Long Island Sound.

A fisherman holding a derelict crab pot.

The Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey continued their work to find and remove derelict crab pots in New Jersey’s southern coastal bays.

A rocky lake shoreline.

Cleveland Metroparks removed construction material from Euclid Beach Park, conducted small-scale marine debris removal, and installing an educational display on the detrimental effects of marine debris in Lake Erie.

Ropes and other debris scattered along a rocky shore.

The Camden County Municipal Utilities Authority worked to remove marine debris as part of a significant urban living shoreline project, the first in urban tidal freshwaters in New Jersey.

The mast of a sunken vessel protrudes out of the water at the Makah Marina in Neah Bay.

The Makah Indian Tribe worked to remove three sunken vessels from the Makah Marina in the Makah Tribe Indian Reservation, and conducted outreach to prevent future abandon and derelict vessels.

2016 Projects

A person hauling collected debris on an ATV.

The Sitka Sound Science Center worked with three remote communities who worked to clean up marine debris on local shorelines in the Bering Sea region of Alaska.

A view of the Sandy Beach area.

The Douglas Indian Association worked to survey and remove derelict Dungeness crab pots in a known crab harvest area of Gastineau Channel near Juneau, Alaska.

A group of people moving a large wooden piling.

The North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve worked with Duke University which used unmanned aerial systems to map and identify marine debris within the Rachel Carson Reserve, and used this data to locate and remove debris and monitor restoration of debris-damaged areas.

Lobstermen pulling a derelict trap out of the water.

The Center for Coastal Studies used side scan sonar surveys to assess derelict fishing gear abundance and collaborating with commercial fishermen to remove derelict gear in Cape Cod Bay and other areas of Massachusetts Bay.

A derelict vessel partially-submerged in water.

The Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources worked to assess and remove five derelict vessels and used information from additional removal events to develop prevention strategies for the area.

Volunteers remove debris and invasive species from a riparian area of the Tijuana River Valley.

The Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association worked to capture, remove, and prevent future accumulations of marine debris within the Tijuana River Valley at the border of the United States and Mexico.

Debris on Tecelote Beach, Santa Rosa Island.

California State University Channel Islands removed and monitored debris on island and mainland shorelines. They also developed formal and informal marine debris curriculum and community outreach projects.

Two people hauling a derelict net onto a boat.

The University of Wisconsin Sea Grant worked to implement an effective, on-the-ground derelict fishing gear removal program that improved the safety and quality of the Great Lakes.

A person holding a derelict crab pot and a pile of derelict crab pots on a boat.

The New Jersey Audubon, Northstar Marine, and Stockton University worked to locate and remove over 2,000 derelict crab pots from three critical areas of coastal New Jersey and the Delaware Bay.

A person taking a derelict crab pot out of the water.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control Delaware Coastal Program is working with local commercial crabbers to locate and remove derelict crab pots from two heavily-fished areas of the Delaware Bay.

Volunteers on a beach.

Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund worked with neighbor island partners to conduct community-based marine debris cleanup events and patrols along remote stretches of Hawai‘i, Kaua‘i, Maui, and Lānaʻi coastlines.

Derelict vessels partially-submerged in water.

The Galveston Bay Foundation (GBF) removed marine debris from navigable waters and habitat areas of Galveston Bay, its sub-bays, and tributaries.

Volunteers picking up derelict crab pots.

The Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources monitored and removed derelict crab traps in Southern Alabama.

A derelict vessel in the water.

The Oregon State Marine Board removed the F/V Western, a sunken vessel in Coos Bay, Oregon, performed an underwater monitoring at the removal area. The monitoring created an inventory of commercial abandoned and derelict vessels (ADV) in Oregon, and initiating an ADV Task Force.

2015 Projects

Photos of a derelict net on a boat.

The BoatU.S. Foundation removed a derelict vessel and three large commercial nets from Lake Erie and Ocean City, Maryland.

A volunteer in a kayak with a bag of debris.

The Island Trails Network used kayaks to remove marine debris from 60 miles of shoreline on Shuyak Island in the western Gulf of Alaska.

A pile of derelict crab pots.

The Nature Conservancy and the Quileute Indian Tribe worked to remove derelict crab pots from tribal waters off the Washington Coast and developed a sustainable reporting and annual recovery program for lost pots.

Participants pose with their haul from a beach cleanup as part of the Micronesia Island Nature Alliance’s efforts against marine debris.

The Mariana Islands Nature Alliance reduced littering and illegal dumping in Saipan by providing infrastructure for proper waste management and raising awareness about littering and marine debris through education and outreach.

The F/V Drake filled with derelict crab pots collected by local fishermen, including Andy Guiliano (pictured).

UC Davis expanded a fishermen-led Dungeness crab derelict gear recovery program, with the intention of making it a self-sustaining effort.

Participants remove a derelict crab pot.

The North Carolina Coastal Federation expanded a fishermen-led crab pot recovery pilot project into a self-sustaining derelict crab pot retrieval program.

Volunteers with the Coastal Cleanup Corporation show marine debris collected from a barrier island within Biscayne National Park.

The Coastal Cleanup Corporation and the Biscayne National Park worked to remove marine debris from sea turtle foraging habitat and nesting beaches and educating the public about marine debris.

A partially-submerged abandoned and derelict vessel.

The City of Bayou La Batre worked to remove 21 abandoned and derelict vessels and other marine debris from the waters of Bayou La Batre, as well as to restore marsh habitat and lead community outreach.

Volunteers fill a container with derelict crab traps collected during a "Derelict Crab Trap Rodeo" in 2014. (Photo Credit: Louisiana Sea Grant)

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries implemented a derelict crab trap removal program, which included large-scale removal, education and outreach, and volunteer events in the Barataria, Terrebonne, and Pontchartrain basins near New Orleans.

A crabber removes a derelict crab pot.

Stockton University and the NOAA Marine Debris Program removed derelict crab pots from coastal bays in Southern New Jersey and educated and trained crabbers on how to prevent and locate lost traps.

A project worker on a boat, tagging a derelict crab pot.

The Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey, with the NOAA Marine Debris Program, identified, removed, and assessed the impacts of derelict crab pots in Barnegat Bay, NJ.

Volunteers at a removal event in Puerto Rico. (Photo Credit: Scuba Dogs Society)

Scuba Dogs Society removed marine debris from a Puerto Rican shoreline and implemented an education and recycling station program to reduce marine debris at its source and promote stewardship of local marine habitats.

Clean Bays works to remove debris from 18 miles of shoreline and near shore environments in East Providence, Rhode Island.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program teamed up with Clean Bays to remove industrial debris from 18 miles of shoreline and nearshore environments in East Providence, Rhode Island.

2014 Projects

Two people handle a derelict crab pot on a boat.

The Nature Conservancy and the Quinault Indian Nation removed derelict crab pots and developed a sustainable reporting and annual recovery program for lost crab pots on the Washington Coast.

Captain John Beardon, and Deckhands Carl Wakefield and Bob Banks recovered more than 300 traps in Crescent a City (Photo Credit: J. Renzullo, California Lost Fishing Gear Recovery Project, UC Davis)

The Regents of UC Davis, Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association and the NOAA Marine Debris Program teamed up to establish a fishermen-led commercial fishing gear recovery and recycling effort in California.

Debris collects behind large trash booms that prevent it from reaching the ocean. (Photo Credit: Sand Diego Surfrider)

The Tijuana River NERR worked to remove debris and prevent further debris from washing down the Tijuana River Watershed from Mexico.

ADVs rest in Charleston Harbor Watershed.

South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium removed derelict vessels and other marine debris using community-based initiatives.

Derelict lobster traps removed from Long Island Sound.

CCE removed derelict lobster traps from Long Island Sound.

A derelict vessel is partially submerged in Coral Bay.

Coral Bay Community Council removed derelict vessels, involved locals in marine debris cleanups, and worked with local waste management and recycling groups to reduce marine debris.

Derelict vessel being crushed at a landfill yard.

LagoonKeepers.org worked to improve the quality of Palm Beach County’s estuarine, coastal, and near-shore marine ecosystems through derelict and sunken boat removal.

Volunteer clean the beach in Hawaii.

Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii and the NOAA Marine Debris Program worked together to inspire coastal stewardship through coastal cleanups.

Volunteers remove debris from Jamaica Bay. Credit: ALS

The American Littoral Society piloted a marine debris removal project in New York's Jamaica Bay

2013 Projects

A pile of nets.

The Sitka Sound Science Center worked to remove approximately 106 tons of marine debris from important areas around local communities across the Bering Sea.

A worker on a boat removing a derelict net from the Puget Sound.

The Northwest Straits Foundation combated derelict fishing gear in the Puget Sound by removing derelict nets and conducting outreach with local tribes and fishermen about the impacts of derelict gear.

HWF volunteers removing debris from Kamilo.

Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund volunteers patroled the Ka‘ū coast on the Big Island of Hawai‘i for marine debris.

KIRC volunteers cleaning the beach.

KIRC removed marine debris accumulations on Kaho'olawe Island in Hawai'i.

Volunteers remove debris from Long Beach's salt marsh in NY.

Hofstra University removed marine debris from one of New York's last natural salt marshes.

Volunteers re-purposing crab pots.

North Carolina Coastal Federation removed derelict crab pots and re-purposing them into oyster reefs.

Volunteers at Florida cleanup

NOAA supported the Coastal Cleanup Corporation in its effort to remove marine debris from sea turtle nesting habitat.

Identified Derelict Vessel in Marsh.

NOAA supported Dauphin Island Sea Lab's efforts to remove abandoned and derelict vessels in Dog River, Alabama.

An old building sits on Tuluwat, an ancient Wiyot village.

NOAA supported the indigenous Wiyot Tribe in its effort to remove marine debris from an ancient cultural site.

Students gather around several bags of trash.

NOAA supported the Sitka Sound Science Center in efforts to remove tsunami debris from Southeast Alaska and educate Sitka's youth about the impact of marine debris.

2012 Projects

A large pile of debris and a woman transporting debris on an ATV.

Island Trails Network in Alaska worked to remove marine debris from Tugidak Island, a critical habitat area in the Kodiak Archipelago.

A man surveys large debris items with a crane in the background.

This debris removal project focused on an area around Detroit's Belle Isle that was filled with old building material from the city.

2011 Projects

A diver holds a slab of metal removed.

Surfrider Foundation’s Rincón chapter worked to protect Puerto Rico's coral reefs by removing heavy marine debris.

2008 Projects

A crane pulls a vessel from the Bay.

NOAA supported San Diego Unified Port District in efforts to remove marine debris from San Diego Bay.

2005 Projects

The Northwest Straits Initiative has worked in partnership with the NOAA Marine Debris Program to eliminate harmful derelict fishing gear in Puget Sound.