Native Community Marine Debris Removal from Bering Sea Shorelines

A person hauling collected debris on an ATV.

The Sitka Sound Science Center teamed up with the NOAA Marine Debris Program and three remote communities who worked clean up marine debris on local shorelines in the Bering Sea region of Alaska.

Type of Project: Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant

Region: Alaska

Project Dates: August 2016 – September 2017

Who is involved?
With the support of a NOAA Marine Debris Program Community-based Marine Debris Removal grant, Sitka Sound Science Center worked with the Bering Sea communities of Savoonga, St. Paul Island, and Port Heiden which collected, removed, and disposed of shoreline debris. This effort was supported by the Aleutian Pribilof Island Community Development Association, as well as the Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation and multiple local organizations and individuals.

What is the project and why is it important?
Building on previous work in the Bering Sea region, the Sitka Sound Science Center worked with the local communities of St. Paul Island in the Pribilof Islands, Port Heiden on the Bristol Bay side of the Alaska Peninsula, and Savoonga on St. Lawrence Island, 150 miles south of the Bering Strait. This project worked to facilitate the cleanup of marine debris from shoreline habitat in and around these three communities, each of which have experience with marine debris cleanups. Cleanup crews for this project came entirely from the communities and utilized local expertise in debris "hotspots," as well as the best techniques to remove the debris. These techniques included methods such as vessel transport and the use of ATVs and other equipment.