Kodiak Marine Debris Removal & Monitoring Project

Plastic debris on a rocky beach.

Island Trails Network teamed up with the NOAA Marine Debris Program and lead volunteers to remove marine debris on shorelines accessible from the road system in and around Kodiak, Alaska.

Type of Project: Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant

Region: Alaska

Project Dates: September 2017 - October 2019

Who is involved?
Island Trails Network (ITN), with the support of a NOAA Marine Debris Program Community-based Marine Debris Removal grant, worked with the local community in Kodiak, Alaska, to remove debris from over 80 local beaches accessible from the road system. Volunteers gathered, sorted, and measured debris to better understand the composition and trends of what is coming ashore.

What is the project and why is it important?
Based on its position relative to wind and current patterns, Alaska receives a huge amount of debris every year. This includes locally-generated debris such as consumer waste and fishing gear, but also a wide range of debris from the open ocean. This project mobilizied the Kodiak community to clean up local beaches that are accessible from the road system of Kodiak Island. Volunteers from local schools and organizations conducted marine debris cleanup and removal, as well as characterized and monitored debris.

Project participants conducted debris monitoring using the NOAA Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project protocols to take measurements of debris composition and loads before, immediately after, and several months after cleanup. This data increased understanding of reaccumulation rates and changes in debris composition, as well as the variability in these measurements based on the type of beach and the direction it faces. The project was actively supported by a broad cross-section of local organizations, including the Alaska Department of Fish & Game, the Kodiak Arts Council, and the Kodiak Island Borough School District.