Virginia CZM Program: 2016 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:VA CZM logo

81

Grantee:

Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation

Project Title:

Monitoring and Assessment of Marine Debris in Virginia’s Coastal Zone

Project Description:

Background
Growing concern about the impacts of marine debris in the ocean and coastal waters, along with increasing emphasis on stormwater management of litter and debris, have led to a new urgency to understand and address the sources of marine debris in Virginia’s coastal waters. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), marine debris has become one of the most widespread pollution problems in the world’s oceans and waterways. Monitoring marine debris is necessary so we can understand sources, locations, amounts, movement, impacts, and accumulation rates, and so we can also evaluate the effectiveness of educational outreach, pollution prevention, and policies that are put in place to reduce this form of pollution. Monitoring data will also facilitate regional and site-specific comparisons over time, and will provide insights into priority targets for prevention.

Participants of the Virginia Marine Debris Summits (February 2013 and March 2016) discussed many gaps in our knowledge about marine debris, including the need for high-value data about the quantity and types of marine debris found on Virginia’s beaches. While extensive data exists about the types of litter and trash found in Virginia’s waterways, beaches and coastal waters, these data are of the “snapshot” variety, and need to be supplemented by data collected using a more rigorous protocol. This grant project will continue to monitor four index sites along Virginia’s coast utilizing Marine Debris Shoreline Survey protocols developed by the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

Project Description
This project will use NOAA’s Marine Debris Shoreline Survey protocol to continue to collect data on the quantities and types of marine debris found in Virginia’s coastal zone. Accumulation Surveys and Standing Stock Surveys will be conducted at the four study sites. Four beaches have been selected and these study sites will have been surveyed for 30 consecutive months prior to the start of this project. Beach study sites are located at the following locations which span the north-to-south range of the Virginia coastline: Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge, Grandview Nature Preserve and Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Project Objectives
The objectives of this project are to continue a monitoring program that has been in place for 30 months by adding 15 additional survey months to the Virginia data set. The project team will continue to recruit and train volunteer monitors to assist the survey coordinator. With these added survey months, the final project report will include analysis of data from nearly four years of monthly surveys, encompassing four Atlantic hurricane seasons. The final months of this study period will be utilized by the project team to conduct detailed analysis of the data and produce a final report, including the development of a strategy to continue index site monitoring and data collection after this grant period has ended. In addition, we will continue to develop and strengthen partnerships with pollution-prevention nonprofits, ocean advocacy organizations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and others. The comprehensive data generated from the project will serve as a baseline against which Virginia can evaluate the effectiveness of its Marine Debris Reduction Plan that was completed in late 2014.

Fiscal Management
This project will be administered by the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center Foundation, Inc. (VAQF). As project supervisor for VAQF, Mark Swingle will be responsible for budget management, including the initiation and oversight of all subcontracts.

Federal Funding:

$45,000

Project Contact:

Susan Barco, 757.385.6476, sgbarco@virginiaaquarium.com 

Project Status:

10/1/16 - 3/31/18; Project Open

Final Product:

 

Project Summary:

 

Disclaimer: This project summary provides the federal dollars initially awarded to the grantee. Due to underexpenditure or reprogramming of grant funds, this figure may change. For more information on the allocation of coastal grant funds, please contact Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Program Manager, at 804.698.4323 or email: Laura.McKay@deq.virginia.gov

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to Virginia.Witmer@deq.virginia.gov

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000


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