NMFS Northeast Regional Office
NOAA has awarded $1.17 million in grants nationally to 14 community-based marine debris prevention and removal projects – including $315,000 to projects from New Hampshire to Maryland. These grants, awarded in 2007, provide financial and technical assistance to local groups to clean up and prevent marine debris such as fishing gear, fuel tanks, and other discarded material in coastal areas.
“These projects will remove tons of marine debris, helping to prevent unnecessary harm to important fish species and their habitats,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Each project relies on cooperative conservation, which brings together the skills, expertise and knowledge of state, local and private partners.”
A grant of $170,000 to the state of Rhode Island, Clean the Bay and local partners will help the state and its partners clean an estimated 400 tons of debris from 110 miles of Rhode Island coastline. This debris - including barges, boats, docks, telephone poles, tires, and derelict fishing gear - has littered the shores of Narragansett Bay for decades. In Maryland, the National Aquarium in Baltimore was awarded $45,000 to reduce the damaging effects of marine debris in Chesapeake Bay. More than 75 volunteers will help remove a ton of debris during underwater and shoreline cleanups of 10-15 acres of shallow water and about 2 miles of shoreline.
The University of New Hampshire in Durham, N.H., was awarded $60,000 for a project that involves teachers, volunteers and fishermen in the tracking and removal of marine debris from the New Hampshire coast. Goodwin College in East Hartford, Conn., was awarded $40,000 for a project that involves student groups in the removal of 900 cubic yards of debris from a portion of the Connecticut River. The student volunteers will also do community outreach on marine debris prevention and removal.
NOAA is currently reviewing grant proposals for 2008 that were submitted by the Oct. 31, 2007 deadline. Grants are funded by the NOAA Marine Debris Program and administered by the NOAA Restoration Center. More information on the NOAA Marine Debris Program and future funding opportunities can be found at www.marinedebris.noaa.gov.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.
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