On Aug. 29, NOAA announced 15 marine debris projects that will support marine debris removal and research received nearly $2.2 million in fiscal year 2017 funding through the NOAA Marine Debris Program. These projects support efforts to address the pervasive global problem of marine debris that can impact wildlife, navigation safety, human health, and the economy.
Eleven groups received a total of $1,238,358 to support marine debris removal projects to benefit coastal habitats, waterways, and wildlife, including migratory fish. Projects awarded through this grant competition will implement locally effective activities to remove marine debris, including derelict fishing gear and abandoned and derelict vessels. Projects will provide benefits to coastal communities, and create long-term ecological habitat improvements for NOAA trust resources.
In addition, four groups received a total of $935,156 for research to advance understanding of how microplastics interact with seafood species. Projects awarded through this grant competition will improve our understanding of the ecological risks associated with marine debris as well as the fate and transport of marine debris in nearshore, coastal environments.
These projects were selected through a rigorous and highly competitive merit review process. NOAA's Marine Debris Program received 70 proposals in 2017, requesting more than $12 million, demonstrating the widespread interest in the marine debris issue across the nation. The funded projects cover 11 states, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands. The NOAA funds are being matched with non-federal contributions totaling $1.9 million.
NOAA's Marine Debris Program leads national efforts to research, prevent, and reduce the impacts of marine debris. Its staff, which are located across the country, support marine debris projects in partnership with state and local agencies, tribes, non-governmental organizations, academia, and industry