Marine debris is a problem that continues to grow. Our waterways and oceans are constantly polluted with a wide variety of marine debris ranging from polystyrene trays and plastic bags to derelict fishing equipment and abandoned boats.
Marine life, such as several Fish species, Whales, Sharks, Sea Turtles, and Birds have been known to ingest marine debris or become entangled in marine debris, which may lead to injury, intestinal blockage, and death. Marine debris is an Eastern North Carolina concern not only because of the threats to our native wildlife, our ecosystem and our own health, but it also washes up on beaches and shorelines degrading the environment, and effecting our local economy and tourism.
Local cooperation and regional partnership is needed to create public awareness while developing ways to decrease the amount of debris going into the waterways as well as cleaning up the debris found in our waterways and on our shores.
The hope is that the North Carolina Marine Debris Symposium (NCMDS) will create local cooperation and regional partnership by providing a forum for the exchange of information on recent developments, program ideas, and best management practices for marine debris prevention, education, and removal.
Here is a blog from Jason Rolfe, NOAA Marine Debris Program, about the 2014 Symposium: http://wp.me/p107yF-19C
NCMDS staff are excited to share the new/updated website for the NCMDS: http://www.ncmarinedebrissymposium.com/. Please be sure to check out the updated blog, gallery (great videos and more), and updates on the 2015 Symposium page.
NCMDS stakeholder group is super stoked to share that they will be moving forward with the NCMDS Blue Business Award program and have had their first meeting a couple of weeks ago in Wrightsville Beach to start working on criteria and funding. The NCMDS stakeholder group will be meeting in Wilmington, Jacksonville, Beaufort, and Nags Head in the coming months on a rotating basis until they have completed the criteria and application form planning process. The hope is to be ready to unveil the program during the 2015 Symposium. NCMDS will be seeking local eco-friendly artists in creating the award we will be giving businesses. The NCMDS is also be looking for local coastal business feedback on criteria and recognition, which is one reason they will be traveling to different coastal NC locations to develop this program.
Keep Onslow Beautiful is seeking partnerships and is planning an underwater cleanup in the New River in December and/or in March. They will need volunteers for shoreline and underwater (divers). Contact RidTheSeaOfMarineDebris@gmail.com or 910.330.3140 if you are interested and feel free to share this with others that might be interested.
There will be an ENC Eco Warrior Drinks and Meeting of the Minds event on Friday, December 5th starting at 7pm and located at Wilmington Home Brew on Kerr Ave. Find all the details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1496836810600806/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming and we hope to see you there. There will be carpooling opportunities available!
The North Carolina Coastal Federation, including NCMDS speaker Ladd Bayliss, will be holding their “Pickin’ Pots” Cleanup Project in January. If you are an NCCF member, you will notice it on the calendar that you received in the mail this week. They are seeking volunteers during the week of January 12th for water-based cleanups and also on the 17th for shoreline cleanups. Please email LaddB@nccoast.org for all the details and for a volunteer form. I will be participating in this and I am really excited! If you attended the 2014 Symposium Wednesday sessions, then you know all about this program. It is a great program that involves perfect partnerships with the fishing community, volunteers, and non-profits. This awesome program is responsible for removing hundreds of abandoned crab pots of derelict fishing gear. It is an amazing opportunity for us to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty while making a huge impact on marine debris. I hope you all join me in this effort.
The New River Roundtable will have a meeting November 20th at Sturgeon City in Jacksonville, NC. For details, please email Susan.Cohen@usmc.mil. This is a great group and they are always looking for new stakeholders to join in.
A birdie told me that the NOAA Marine Debris Program will be offering their Education grants again this year. Here is last year’s grant language to give an idea of what this year’s competition might request. http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=247582 .
There is also a NOAA Marine Debris Program short blog on the 2014 funded projects. Here’s the removal project blog/write up about 2014 projects but relates to the grant competition that is currently open now (FOCUS ON REMOVAL): http://marinedebrisblog.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/noaa-mdp-funds-11-community-based-marine-debris-removal-projects/. Again, please consider partnering with NCMDS.
Here’s a blog on the prevention through education and outreach projects that might be of interest to you as well: http://marinedebrisblog.wordpress.com/2014/08/19/10-marine-debris-prevention-partnerships-launched/
The NOAA Marine Debris Program’s annual “Keep the Sea Free of Debris” Art Contest for grades K-8 is now open. Students can submit artwork from October 15th through November 17th (That’s TODAY!).
This year, show the NOAA Marine Debris Program:
• How marine debris impacts the oceans and the Great Lakes.
• What you are doing to help prevent marine debris.
To help raise marine debris awareness year-round, we will feature contest winners in our 2016 Marine Debris Calendar to remind everyone that we can solve the marine debris problem every day!
For a complete list of contest rules and download the student entry form and art contest flyer visit: http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/outreach/artcontest.html
For more information about the North Carolina Marine Debris Symposium, local marine debris events, or how to become an NCMDS Stakeholder, please contact RidTheSeaOfMarineDebris@gmail.com.