Marine Debris Tracker named in Apple’s ‘apps we can’t live without’

We are so excited to announce that Marine Debris Tracker was named in Apple’s Introductory video to the Worldwide Developer Conference held in San Francisco this week. Thanks to Emily Penn of Pangaea Exploration for telling the world that Marine Debris Tracker is an “App she can’t live without”. App creator, Jenna Jambeck, was in disbelief when she first got the search engine alert, but the video proved it, and it is so inspiring. Read more on how we found out about the mention.

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Two Opportunities to hear about studying Plastic Pollution in the Ocean

SEA PosterForWebsite_BottleNewLaurelVanc

SEA-MDI is helping to sponsor the documentary Into the Gyre for the 2014 EcoFocus Film Festival March 20-28. The documentary will show Friday, March 21 at 5pm at Cine for FREE! The documentary is about students working with the Sea Education Association (SEA) semester studying plastic pollution in our oceans. An engaging panel discussion will follow the movie with the filmmaker and SEA-MDI PI Dr. Jenna Jambeck.

For more information on SEA and how you can study the oceans, including plastic at sea, you can attend an information session March 20 in Coverdell Auditorium with SEA representative, Elizabeth Dorr.

For questions on any of these events, contact Dr. Jenna Jambeck.

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Help NOAA Locate Sandy Debris with Marine Debris Tracker

The NOAA Marine Debris Program recently encouraged those who find large debris that is likely from Superstorm Sandy to tell them about it with our mobile app, Marine Debris Tracker. Ron Ohrel blogged that:

Much debris has been removed, but more remains. NOAA needs assistance in identifying its location, and you can help. All it takes is an Android or iPhone and an interest in cleaning up our waterways!

If you spot large debris items that Sandy left behind, either while participating in organized cleanups or during the course of your normal beach-going activities, please let us know through the Marine Debris Tracker. The information will be used to assist any future planning efforts.

See the complete blog post with details on what to tell NOAA about here. We are glad that Marine Debris Tracker can provide the tool they need at this time.

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NOAA’s FY14 Community-based Marine Debris Removal Funding Opportunity

Spreading the news!

The NOAA Marine Debris Program and the NOAA Restoration Center have just announced their national FY14 Community-based Marine Debris Removal Funding Opportunity. Full Funding Opportunity available online here.

Summary: NOAA is interested in improving marine and coastal habitat through on-the-ground removal of marine debris. Marine debris is defined as “any persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed and directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned into the marine environment or the Great Lakes” (15 CFR Part 909). The highest program priorities for this solicitation are the removal of derelict fishing gear and the removal of medium- to large-scale marine debris that have a negative impact on important habitat areas and projects that benefit NOAA trust resources.

Projects should benefit living resources and their habitats, including commercial and recreational fishery resources, coastal habitats, and/or endangered or threatened aquatic species.  NOAA trust resources can also include marine habitats and resources associated with National Marine Sanctuaries, National Estuarine Research Reserves, and areas under state coastal management programs.

Funding: Up to $2,000,000 is expected to be available for this nationwide competition in Fiscal Year 2014. Typical awards will range from $50,000 to $150,000.

 Due Date: November 1, 2013

For questions, please contact Tom Barry ( or Jason Rolfe (

Those interested in potential SEA-MDI collaboration can contact Jenna Jambeck or other consortium members.

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Jekyll Island Outreach

We recently went to Jekyll Island to meet with our Georgia Sea Turtle Center Marine Debris Initiative partner, Jeannie Miller, and attend the Green Screen event put on by EcoFest Film Fesitval, Georgia Sea Grant (partners Jill Gamble and Lisa Liguori) and Jekyll Island (partner Ben Carswell). It was an outstanding event bringing together many people. The event was free and open to the public, so an estimated 800 people attended. SEA-MDI undergraduate assistant, Abby Stern, helped to make the two posters we presented. At the poster session and reception, we were able to talk to the attendees about the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative and our useful mobile app to map marine debris, Marine Debris Tracker.

Abby Stern speaking with Surfrider Foundation about our mobile App Marine Debris Tracker

Caitlin speaking about the Georgia Sea Turtle Marine Debris Initiative supported by SEA-MDI

Then we all went in to watch the outstanding movie, Chasing Ice.

Chasing Ice Attendees

The movie was followed by an excellent panel and dialog.

Chasing Ice Discussion Panel

It was a very productive event for SEA-MDI and some of our partners.

Marine Debris Tracker in Action


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Georgia Sea Turtle Center Marine Debris Citizen Science Program

The mobility of marine and land debris has created a global problem that has local solutions.  The Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC) Marine Debris Citizen Science program was created in 2012 and is funded by the Southeast Atlantic Marine Debris Initiative which is part of the NOAA Marine Debris program. Marine Debris Citizen Science participants keep Jekyll Island’s beaches free of marine debris. They help protect sea turtle and shorebird nesting habitats by collecting and bagging debris along stretches of beach. They also record where, when, what and how much debris is picked up using the Marine Debris Tracker application. While on the beach, Marine Debris Citizen Science participants will also have an opportunity to interpret and educate visitors to the coastal area about sea turtle biology and beach ecology.

Check out our Marine Debris Initiative  for more information as well as an overview of opportunities available. If you are interested in our Marine Debris Initiative, please contact us at

Citizen Science Marine Debris Trackers

Youth citizen science group

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First boat disposal for Clean Marine Beaufort project and World Oceans Celebration!

We love to see citizens incorporated into this art project using marine debris and it is exciting to see how one of the SEA-MDI projects is expanding! Here is the update, courtesy of Amber Von Harten of SC Sea Grant.

Through a partnership with Beaufort County Public Works, the SEA-MDI sponsored Clean Marine Beaufort project , organized by the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, removed their first recreational boat from the marshes of Beaufort County, SC. Funds from the SEA-MDI project will support the disposal of the boat.

Clean Marine boat removed

The Clean Marine Beaufort project partners are also heading up another project linking marine debris outreach and celebrating our worlds oceans through World Oceans Day Beaufort, SC, a month long celebration in June. Part of this project is to use art as a conduit to get a message put to the community about the impacts of marine debris on the oceans. The art project, in partnership with the Beaufort County Arts Council and ARTworks, will support bringing in a local artist to create a large marine debris sculpture called “Locomocean.” The sculpture will use a waste container, courtesy of Waste Management, as the base for the sculpture and the community will bring the artist pieces of marine debris or recyclables to build into the art piece. Additionally, the recreational boat removed with support from Clean Marine Beaufort will be used in the sculpture as well before disposal. The artist is holding two community art workshops to work with the community on building the sculpture on June 2 and 9 and the sculpture will be finished and revealed at the World Oceans Day Beaufort Festival on June 16 in Beaufort.

World Oceans Day marine debris sculpture

For more information on Clean Marine Beaufort and World Oceans Day Beaufort, SC, see: and the list of events for the month of June:

An article was written in the Island Packet about the project.

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Ribbon cutting for North Carolina Big Sweep Project

On May 17, 2012 the kickoff for the SEA-MDI sponsored Tracking Monofilament Line Recycling to Make a Difference for Our Wildlife project occurred with a ceremonial ribbon cutting.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Thursday, May 17, 2012 – 11 a.m.

Southport Marina



Hank Whitley

Marina Manager, Southport Marina

 The Honorable Robert Howard

Mayor, City of Southport

  What’s All This Fuss About?

Judy Bolin

President. N.C. Big Sweep

 Your Local Big Sweep Connection

Kimberley Thompson

Brunswick County Big Sweep Coordinator, Brunswick County Solid Waste/Recycling Coordinator, and

Keep Brunswick County Beautiful Executive Director

  What Is A Clean Marina?

Pat Durrett

Clean Marina Program Coordinator

  Cutting The Ribbon

In the photo (from left to right): Pat Durrett (Clean Marina), Judy Bolin (NC Big Sweep), Hank Whitley (Southport Marina), Southport Mayor Robert Howard, Kimberley Thompson (Brunswick County Solid Waste and Recycling), and Alderman Todd Coring.

Fifteen monofilament recycling bins have been placed at marinas and will be recording the line collected. Beyond that, people visiting the marinas are being educated about marine debris and have the opportunity to download the SEA-MDI app Marine Debris Tracker. The sticker below is also placed on the bins.

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Marine Debris Cleanup Locations Released

Did you know there are over 1200 locations in the USA removing marine debris from our environment? Do you know how they manage the waste they collect? Explore our map to discover a new option for marine debris waste management or find a local group to join and help! Then use our handy Smartphone app, Marine Debris Tracker, to log what you find.

This database was created and populated by our undergraduate research assistant, Jenna Grygier, and also presented at the University of Georgia’s 2012 Undergraduate Research Conference. She compiled the data from web-based resources with some followup phone calls. the purpose of the database is to examine the waste management practices of each marine debris group and event. But it also serves a resource to the public to find these events and explore waste management options. Know of a cleanup event or group not listed? Please let us know at

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Southeast Marine Debris Projects Funded

SEA-MDI is excited to fund the following marine debris projects in NC, GA and SC. The projects began March 1, 2012 and will go through February 28, 2013. And there will be one more opportunity for funding, so keep watching for future announcements.

  1. Reading Between the Lines: Marine Debris Education for Children in Georgia, Georgia Marine Extension Service and Georgia Sea Grant College Program
  2. Clean Marine: Debris Free Waterways in Beaufort County, SC, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium & Extension Program
  3. Fort Pulaski Marine Debris Initiative, Clean Coast and the National Park Service
  4. Georgia Sea Turtle Center Marine Debris Citizen Science and Education Program, Georgia Sea Turtle Center (GSTC)
  5. Plastic Debris on the Georgia Coast, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography and UGA Marine Extension Service
  6. Tracking Monofilament Line Recycling to Make a Difference for Our Wildlife, North Carolina Big Sweep Statewide Headquarters

Congratulations to all of our awardees!

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