Cultivating Santa Barbara Channel Stewards
Staff and students from California State University Channel Islands teamed up with the NOAA Marine Debris Program and conducted debris removal and monitoring on island and mainland shorelines while also developing formal and informal marine debris curriculum and community outreach projects at the K-12 and undergraduate levels.
Type of Project: Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant
Project Dates: August 2016 - December 2018
Who is involved?
With the support of a NOAA Marine Debris Program Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant, researchers from California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) and the Channel Islands National Park conducted marine debris removal and shoreline surveys on Santa Cruz Island, Santa Rosa Island, and mainland sites near Oxnard, California, and quantified and monitored island marine debris in comparison to mainland marine debris. CSUCI project leads also worked with local junior high and high schools and developed informal and formal marine debris curriculum. They also developed marine debris community outreach projects at the K-12 and undergraduate levels to help develop the next generation of Santa Barbara Channel Stewards. Lastly, project leads coordinated with the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and local fishermen on lobster trap removal and outreach to the lobster fishing community.
What is the project and why is it important?
This project worked to clear shoreline sites of debris on Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz Islands and mainland beaches in Oxnard, California, and assessed the types and accumulation rates of large debris (>2.5 cm) according to NOAA’s Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project protocols. Concurrent surveys also assessed microdebris.
The Channel Islands are a unique place to monitor marine debris. These islands are situated within 60 miles of 18 million people, yet harbor 175 miles of undeveloped coastline and habitat for numerous marine mammals, threatened bird species, and a variety of species unique to that area. A number of factors influence the accumulation of marine debris on these islands. Aside from the nearby highly populated mainland coast, the Channel Islands are surrounded by extensive commercial and recreational fisheries, international commercial shipping lanes, as well as other factors resulting in a variety of types, sources, and abundances of debris found on Channel Island shorelines.