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Federation Receives Debris Removal Grant

The Scrappy Doo, an abandoned and derelict vessel located near Baum Point Island within the Kitty Hawk Woods Reserve. Photo: North Carolina Coastal Federation

The North Carolina Coastal Federation now has funding to remove large-scale marine debris, particularly the more than 20 abandoned and derelict vessels harming important habitat such as oyster reef, submerged aquatic vegetation, shallow subtidal and coastal wetlands in the Albemarle-Pamlico estuary

The federation was awarded a $121,090 grant from the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program and will coordinate the project with Dare County and the N.C. Division of Coastal Management. Division of Coastal Management staff identified the many abandoned and derelict vessels and other large-scale marine debris negatively impacting different habitats within Currituck Banks and Kitty Hawk Woods component of the N.C. Coastal Reserve.

The project is expected to begin this fall and will continue over the next 12-24 months. The federation will solicit a request for proposals from marine contractors to perform the debris removal and announce opportunities to participate in volunteer-based community cleanups.

“The Division is looking forward to working with the Coastal Federation and project partners to remove vessels and debris to improve habitat quality at Reserve sites,” said Rebecca Ellin, Coastal Reserve Program Manager for the N.C. Division of Coastal Management. “Through collaborative efforts such as these, we can reduce marine debris in coastal N.C. to protect habitats and enhance the safety and enjoyment of our coastal environment.”

Additional abandoned and derelict vessels have been identified throughout Dare County and some pose a threat to safe navigation. The removal of medium- and large-scale marine debris is also anticipated to restore sections of submerged aquatic vegetation that provides essential fish habitat.

“Dare County is excited to work with the Coastal Federation on this project. With the number of storms that have affected Dare County the amount of abandoned vessels that harass our waters has increased exponentially. We are thankful to have an organization like the Coastal Federation consistently working to ensure the waters of the county are clean and safe for everyone,” Brent Johnson, Dare County Project Manager, said.

The grant-funded project provides the opportunity to develop a replicable case study on how to clean up abandoned and derelict vessels and other medium- and large-scale marine debris by combining local, state and federal resources and make it available to a broad range of stakeholders.

The North Carolina Marine Debris Action Plan, which provides a framework for reducing the amount and impact of marine debris on the coast for the next five years.

To learn about the progress of this work and the federation’s efforts to create a coast that is free of marine debris, visit: nccoast.org/marinedebris. Contact Michael Flynn with any questions at michaelf@nccoast.org or 252-473-1607.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.