The $210,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Restoration Center and Marine Debris Program has been matched by Bristol Bay Economic Development Corp., Aleutian-Pribilof Island Community Development Association and the Norton Sound Economic Development Corp., said Dave Gaudet, director of the Alaska Marine Stewardship Foundation, which received the funds.
AMSF plans to remove some 55 metric tons of nets, lines, buoys, and other plastic debris from the vicinity of Port Heiden, Nelson Lagoon, Nikolski, St. George and Savoonga. AMSF also plans to submit a white paper exploring ideas for an effective removal and recycling program of debris from the Bering Sea communities.
Gaudet said the funds allow the foundation to pursue its mission of promoting environmental stewardship of Alaska and North Pacific marine resources through habitat restoration and education. “Removing marine debris from these areas will reduce the risk of negative impacts on marine animal communities,” said Gaudet, who announced the project on Aug. 15.
“Marine debris isn’t just trash on our shores,” said Nancy Wallace, director of the NOAA Marine Debris Program. “It can trap wildlife, damage habitat, and even get tangled in propellers. NOAA supports locally driven marine debris removal projects that benefit coastal habitat, waterways and wildlife including migratory fish.”
More information about the AMSF program and progress updates on the project will be found at the AMSF website, www.Alaskamsf.org. Information on the NOAA Marine Debris Program is at www.marinedebris.noaa.gov.