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Project Information

Title: Marine Debris Removal Program

Project Year and Number: 2015: 15120116

Other Fiscal Years and Numbers for this Project: None

Principal Investigator (PI): Chris Pallister

Assisting Personnel: None

Research Location:

Restoration Category: General Restoration

Injured Resources Addressed: Not Specified

Abstract: This marine debris cleanup project will during 40 days remove heavy deposits (over 20 tons per mile) of plastic marine debris from approximately 3 miles of shoreline on the northeast shore of Montague Island along Hinchinbrook Entrance. This shoreline is critical habitat for Steller sea lions and is frequented by depleted harbor seals. The cleanup work will be a continuation of a marine debris project begun in 2013 in this specific area for the EVOSTC and continued through 2014 with Legislative and ADEC grants. Through August 2014, starting at Zaikof Point on Montague Island at the entrance to PWS and moving south, 6.5 miles of this shoreline have been cleaned. The 2015 cleanup will also remove both Japanese tsunami debris and other marine debris. At the completion of this project approximately 9.5 miles out of 74 miles of heavily fouled shoreline stretching south of Hinchinbrook Entrance will have been cleaned.

A large component of the Japanese tsunami debris is Styrofoam, urethane foam, and lightweight debris such as bottles and other plastic containers. This debris is highly mobile and susceptible to refloating by tides and storms. Once the debris is refloated from shoreline deposits, prevailing winds and currents will move it through Hinchinbrook Entrance. The debris will then be redistributed throughout the inner islands of Prince William Sound fouling hundreds of miles of previously cleaned intertidal habitat. The primary goal of this cleanup project is to remove in 40 days as much debris as possible from the northeast shore of Montague Island in order to limit recontamination of inner PWS shorelines. This project replaces a cleanup originally planned nearly 30 miles further south in Patton Bay. A large peninsular land mass called Box Point traps and contains debris in Patton Bay and points further south. Refloated debris south of Box Point does not threaten inner PWS shorelines nearly as much as the debris deposits further north. It is important to focus the cleanup effort on areas that threaten the most environmental damage.

Debris will be collected and placed in Super Sacks. Large items will be lashed together in preparation for helicopter slinging. All the debris will subsequently be removed during the summer of 2015 by helicopter and barge. The helicopter/barge removal project will be a separate phase of the cleanup project. Gulf of Alaska Keeper is working with ADEC, NOAA, the Alaska Legislature and corporate entities to organize and fund the removal portion of the project. Debris will most likely be shipped to either a recycling facility or landfill in the Pacific Northwest. Since the arrival of the tsunami debris disposal options in Alaska have become very limited to non-existent in most areas.

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Proposal: View PDF (1,107 KB)

Funding Recommendations: View

Funding Detail For: 2015

Quarterly Project Tasks For: 2015

Annual Report: 2015: Due 09/01/2015

Final Report: Final Report Not Available - For Current Status Please Contact Us

Publications from this Project: None Available