Assessment to Improve Marine Debris Removal and Monitoring Efforts in Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary
Scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), in collaboration with NOAA’s Marine Debris Program and Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary (GRNMS), completed a field mission September 23-24, which will improve debris removal and monitoring efforts within GRNMS. The purpose of this mission was to characterize the types, abundance, and accumulation rates of marine debris on densely colonized hardbottom within the sanctuary. NCCOS scientists and partners established and marked long term monitoring sites, conducted an initial survey, and removed debris from each site. Sites were selected to compare debris metrics between regions with differing levels of human use and ledge height. The selected sites will be monitored quarterly to measure rates of debris accumulation.