Removing Debris from New York's Jamaica Bay
American Littoral Society and the NOAA Marine Debris Program pilot a marine debris removal project in New York's Jamaica Bay.
What’s the project?
In this pilot project, the American Littoral Society (ALS) removes marine debris from saltmarsh, intertidal flats, and other parts of New York’s coast, which will improve essential fish habitat and help prevent future marine debris accumulation.
ALS is also connecting people to Jamaica Bay in New York and increasing public knowledge on marine debris issues by engaging community volunteers in debris removal and native grass planting. In addition, ALS is developing more compelling ways to present the data they collect, developing a marine debris reduction outreach program for communities directly contributing to litter on the project sites, and implementing a proven marine debris reduction certification program to incentivize debris reduction in local waterways.
Who is involved?
With support from the Marine Debris Program’s Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant, ALS leads community volunteers in removing marine debris, improving existing ways of presenting marine debris data to individuals, beach captains, community boards and town councils, environmental commissions, and the local press.
What does it accomplish?
ALS has been engaged in community-led marine debris removal in Jamaica Bay for more than 25 years. Jamaica Bay is surrounded by the densely populated commercial and residential populations of New York City, and ALS has been successful at mobilizing large numbers of corporate, school, and faith-based volunteer groups to engage in marine debris removal. Volunteers also document the quantity and type of debris they remove and report results back to ALS. Through this project, ALS is removing 59 tons of marine debris from 22 acres of salt marsh, salt meadow, and mud flats with the help of 1,600 volunteers and participating in 30 outreach events.
What is something unique about the project?
In 2003, ALS began segregating the cleanup data collected down to the municipal level and developed a web site for volunteers to sign up for local cleanups locally and then view data collected in previous years. Now, ALS can more easily manipulate the data and pilot more projects to educate people at a local level on their role in creating marine debris.