NOAA's Response and Restoration Blog

An inside look at the science of cleaning up and fixing the mess of marine pollution


Leave a comment

NOAA at Submerge NYC Marine Science Festival

Children gathered around a tub with water.

NOAA’s eel ladder demonstration is one of the highlights of Submerge! Last year, thousands of visitors stopped by to meet live eels and learn how NOAA’s Damage Assessment Remediation and Restoration Program works to restore access so these animals can reach habitat upstream of man-made barriers in rivers and streams. Image credit: NOAA.

Have you ever wanted to see an eel climb a ladder? Or explore a research vessel?  How about learning to fish or watch a scuba diver?  And did you ever think you could do all that in New York City?

Well, you can do all that and more with NOAA scientists and other experts at the Submerge NYC Marine Science Festival on Saturday, Sept. 16. This is the fourth year that Hudson River Park will host the event.

The free daylong science festival brings together researchers and scientists to talk to people about marine life and conservation. NOAA scientists from our Damage Assessment and Restoration Program and Marine Debris Program, as well as the Northeast Fisheries Science Center will be on hand to explain our work protecting the coastal environment from hazardous waste, oil, and marine debris and restoring habitat and biota.

Children handle horseshoe crab shell.

At NOAA’s Research Station, scientists from our Office of Response and Restoration and our Fisheries Service describe their work assessing natural resource injuries, reducing marine debris, and restoring habitat for the many marine and estuarine species that call the New York Harbor home. Image credit: NOAA.

A brief power outage at last year’s event stopped the water pump that supplied an attractant water flow for our popular eel ladder. Rather than shut down the display, we asked the public to help by manually using buckets of water to simulate the river flow. The eels did not disappoint. They showed off their climbing skills, which allow them to navigate around and over natural obstacles that would be barriers to other fish species.

“The loss of power turned into an even more engaging interactive demonstration as the public eagerly played the role of the river to maintain flow and operation of the eel ladder,” said NOAA Regional Resource Coordinator Lisa Rosman. “Many visitors were also excited by the opportunity to briefly hold or touch an eel.”

Activities at th​is year’s ​science festival will include:

  • Discovery Lab
  • Vessel Tours
  • Big City Fishing
  • Kayaking
  • Live Scuba Dives
  • River Ranger Kid Zones
  • Research Stations

You can find our booth in the Research Stations section of the festival along with other science organizations sharing current marine research.

The Submerge NYC Marine Science Festival is Saturday, Sept.16 from 11am-4pm at Pier 26 at N. Moore St. in Lower Manhattan.


Leave a comment

Weston Mill Dam Removal Project in Full Swing

New Jersey’s Millstone River with bridge and dam. Image: Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association.

Removal of the Weston Mill Dam is an important step in long-term efforts to restore habitat in the Raritan River watershed. Image credit: Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association.

Fish will once again be able to swim unencumbered in New Jersey’s Millstone River as removal of the Weston Mill Dam begins.

The project is part of the settlement negotiated to compensate for potential injuries to fish and other in-river trust resources from long-term hazardous substance releases related to the nearby American Cyanamid Superfund Site in Bridgewater, New Jersey. The site was used for manufacturing of chemicals, dyes, and pharmaceuticals and for coal tar distillation from the early 1900s until 1999.

“Removal of the Weston Mill Dam is an important step in long-term efforts to restore habitat in the Raritan River watershed,” said David Westerholm, Director of NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration. “Cooperative resolution of natural resource damage liability benefits everyone – the public, industry, and the ecosystem. These collaborative efforts lower damage assessment costs, reduce risk of litigation, and – most importantly – shorten the time between injury and restoration of public resources.”

Removal of the dam will return the flow of the river closer to its natural state restoring passage for migratory fish, and improving water quality and habitat without negative impacts to endangered species or cultural, sociological, or archaeological resources.

The project will open about 4.5 miles of the Millstone River to migratory species – including American shad and river herring  -that spend much of their lives in the ocean and estuaries but need to return to freshwater rivers and streams to spawn, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. American eel, which spawn in the ocean but spend much of their lives in rivers and streams, will also benefit.

The dam removal will also benefit people by increasing safety and improving recreational and scenic enjoyment of the waterway A free-flowing river allows safer kayaking, canoeing, and fishing.

Here in the United States, millions of dams and other barriers block fish from reaching upstream spawning and rearing habitat. Although dams often provide benefits, such as hydroelectric power and irrigation many, including the Weston Mill Dam, are now obsolete and present a hazard.

Fish ladders, bypass channels, and rock ramps are forms of Technical Fish Passage that may be considered when dam removal is not an option, according to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Restoration Center.

NOAA and our co-trustees – the U.S. Department of Interior and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection – secured removal of the Weston Mill Dam through cooperative resolution of natural resource damages and ongoing work with our local partners including the Stony Brook-Millstone Watershed Association.

You can read more about the Raritan River in this article:

Reyhan Mehran of the Office of Response and Restoration and Carl Alderson of the NOAA Fisheries Restoration Center contributed to this article.

Corals and Marine Debris

Leave a comment

Our Marine Debris Program explains the harmful effects of trash and other debris on delicate coral ecosystems for #CoralsWeek.

NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

Corals week logo.

Coral reefs are diverse and important marine ecosystems, supporting a wide array of marine life. Not only do they provide essential structure for habitats, but corals themselves are a unique and beautiful type of animal. However, these animals are also very delicate and are under threat by a preventable problem: marine debris. Debris can damage these sensitive reef habitats, crushing or smothering the corals that make them up. Derelict fishing gear, or fishing gear that has been lost or abandoned, can be especially harmful.

Luckily, this is a completely preventable problem and we can all help to reduce these impacts! Remember your “3Rs” (reduce, reuse, recycle) to minimize your contribution to marine debris. Make sure you’re responsible with your trash and when fishing, make sure none of your gear gets left behind. If you don’t know how to properly use your gear or dispose of…

View original post 117 more words

This gallery contains 3 photos


Leave a comment

Let’s Talk Trash this Full Moon!

Check out the latest in Ocean Today’s Every Full Moon series.

NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

If you haven’t had a chance to check out our Trash Talk video series (or even if you have), head over to Ocean Today’s website to see Trash Talk featured as this full moon’s highlighted series! Trash Talk is a great way to learn a little about marine debris, or to get the conversation started about this issue. The six-part series talks about what marine debris is, where it comes from, its impacts, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, plastic debris, and what we can do about it. There is also a video that demonstrates educational activities to help kids understand the problem and even some bonus content!

Trash Talk was originally released in June 2015 as a collaboration between the NOAA Marine Debris Program and NOAA’s Ocean Today. It can be viewed either as a full-length (about 15 minutes) mini-documentary, or as six…

View original post 84 more words


Leave a comment

Science of Oil Spills Training: Apply for Spring 2017

People sitting around desk in classroom

Science of Oil Spills class

October 3, 2016 —NOAA‘s Office of Response and Restoration (OR&R), a leader in providing scientific information in response to marine pollution, has scheduled two more Science of Oil Spills (SOS) classes:

  • Charleston, South Carolina, the week of February 13, 2017
  • Mobile, Alabama the week of March 27, 2017

OR&R will accept applications for these classes as follows:

  • The application period for the Charleston class will run through Monday, November 28, 2016. We will email applicants regarding their application status no later than Friday, December 9.
  • The application period for the Mobile class will run through Friday, January 20, 2017. We will email applicants regarding their application status no later than Friday, February 3, 2017.

SOS classes help spill responders increase their understanding of oil spill science when analyzing spills and making risk-based decisions. They are designed for new and mid-level spill responders.

The trainings cover:

  • Fate and behavior of oil spilled in the environment.
  • An introduction to oil chemistry and toxicity.
  • A review of basic spill response options for open water and shorelines.
  • Spill case studies.
  • Principles of ecological risk assessment.
  • A field trip.
  • An introduction to damage assessment techniques.
  • Determining cleanup endpoints.

To view the topics for the next SOS class, download a sample agenda [PDF, 170 KB].

Please understand that classes are not filled on a first-come, first-served basis. We try to diversify the participant composition to ensure a variety of perspectives and experiences, to enrich the workshop for the benefit of all participants. Classes are generally limited to 40 participants.

For more information, and to learn how to apply for the class, visit the SOS Classes page.


Leave a comment

50th Anniversary of Bodega Marine Laboratory

Aerial view of coastal bluff with buildings

Aerial view of the Bodega Marine Laboratory. Credit: Bodega Marine Laboratory

The Bodega Marine Laboratory is 50 years old and going strong along with the partnership between NOAA and the University of California (UC).

Back in 1956, undeveloped land stretched across a peninsula to Bodega Head. In 1966 the first lab opened under the supervision of UC Berkeley, by the 1980s UC Davis took the helm. Since then the laboratory has more than doubled in size and the research scope greatly expanded to include fields as diverse as organismal biology, coastal ecology, climate change effects and ocean acidification, toxicology, bio-engineering, physical oceanography, and biotechnology.

Students, faculty, and visiting scientists have studied the shoreline habitats and conducted research at the lab since its modest beginnings – expanding our understanding of marine and estuarine systems along a beautiful stretch of northern California coastline.

The lab is part of the Bodega Marine Reserve, which is part of the UC Natural Reserve System and within NOAA’s recently expanded Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

Some of the research at the BML includes:

  • Marine aquaculture
  •  Toxicity studies
  • Effects of oil spill in San Francisco Bay on Pacific herring
  • Captive breeding programs to support recovery of the special status species such as white abalone (Haliotis sorenseni ) and salmon (Oncorhynchus)
  • Ocean acidification studies
  • Deployment of various types of sensors to monitor physical phenomena such as oxygen levels in sanctuary waters.

Partnerships with marine laboratories such as Bodega Marine Laboratory are critical to the NOAA mission to protect and restore coastal resources and to help us remain a strong science-based agency well connected with current scientific research, trends, and findings.

Ten Years of the NOAA Marine Debris Program: 2012

Leave a comment

NOAA Marine Debris Program is celebrating 10 years of protecting our nation’s marine environment.

NOAA's Marine Debris Blog

The NOAA Marine Debris Program 10 year anniversary identity marker.

This year marks the ten year anniversary of the NOAA Marine Debris Program and we will be celebrating throughout the year! As part of our celebration, we will be looking back on our accomplishments over the years (check out our timeline for a review of the past decade!). Let’s take a look back to 2012:

2012:

The NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) faced some important challenges in 2012 and was busier than ever! To start, the Marine Debris Act was amended, expanding to include regional coordination and emergency response. This made the MDP responsible for coordinating with partners on a daily basis, as well as responding to severe debris events. With the added responsibility of regional coordination, the MDP upgraded its reach from six to ten coastal regions, now including the Pacific Islands, Alaska, Pacific Northwest, California, Great Lakes, Gulf of Mexico, Northeast

View original post 271 more words

This gallery contains 5 photos