Oregon Marine Debris Action Plan Newsletter

Marine debris on beach.

Marine debris on the beach (Photo: Oregon SOLVE).

May 2020 Update #6

The new NOAA Marine Debris Program's Pacific Northwest Regional Coordinator pictured hiking.

Greetings colleagues!

I want to take a moment to say thank you for the warm welcome I have received from all the members of our Pacific Northwest Marine Debris community that I've been fortunate to connect with so far. I am continually amazed by the phenomenal work that each of you have accomplished, even more so in light of the current "Stay-at-Home" orders that most of us are dealing with. I look forward to the time when we can all meet again as a community to conduct beach cleanups and attend workshops, but for the foreseeable future, all planned in-person workshops sponsored by NOAA have been postponed. Pictured above: Andrew on a hike in the Superstition Mountains east of Phoenix, AZ in September 2019 (Photo: Andrew Mason).

Now more than ever I am happy to share with you a taste of what your peers have been doing over the last six months to a year. Thanks to each of you who contributed to this update. Keep up the good work!

Andrew Mason's email with NOAA logo.

An Update from COASST

A Musashi brand buoy.

A Musashi brand buoy that John Chapman, of Oregon State University, examined and determined had almost a dozen species (Photo: G. & P. Pardi).

Submitted by: Hillary Burgess, COASST

In recent months, the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST) continued to train and support citizen scientists monitoring marine debris along Washington's coastline within the Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and on the outer coast. We are also wrapping up a project conducted in partnership with the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) that evaluates survey methods and will inform improvements to data collection and interpretation. Look for results on the NOAA MDP and COASST websites soon!

Everblue At-Home Education Launches in the Midst of Quarantine

: Everblue At-Home Education signage.

Everblue At-Home Education PDFs are available to download for free at oceaneverblue.org/education. New exciting lessons based on current published research will be launched every Friday until the end of quarantine (Image: Design credit to Dom Librie and Rachel Aitchison, Everblue).

Submitted by: Ellie S Jones, Everblue 

Everblue is an Oregon nonprofit that specializes in helping scientists communicate their research through education and online engagement. We focus on highlighting the science of human effects on the ocean, and place an emphasis on plastic pollution research. This month, we launched a new program called Everblue At-Home Education! In this program, Everblue team members create special lesson plans based on research done by our partnered scientists to get ocean education into people's homes while we are all social distancing. Lessons are available to download for free and new lessons will be launched each Friday until the end of quarantine! To support our new program and allow it to stay free, you can share these lessons with any educators and parents you know, or donate on our website! Or, for more information, you can contact Everblue founder Ellie. For more info go to: oceaneverblue.org/education.

Oregon State Marine Board Derelict Vessel Removal Update

Vessel that was found adrift in the Columbia River.

The vessel in the photo was found adrift in the Columbia River in February 2020 (Photo: Sgt. Herron, Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office).

Submitted by: Dorothy Diehl, Oregon State Marine Board 

Within the last six months, the Oregon State Marine Board funded the removal and disposal of five derelict vessels from the Willamette and Columbia Rivers near Portland, Oregon. The vessels were all fiberglass, with an average length of 25’ and were partially sunken or adrift. Staff has also provided technical assistance to property owners who have wished to dispose of vessels that were abandoned on land, ensuring they will not enter a waterway in the future. A document in lieu of title transfer, which authorizes vessel disposal, has been developed to streamline the disposal process when a responsible owner cannot be contacted through due process. Staff is hopeful that the availability of this document will encourage proper disposal of vessels in poor condition that are abandoned or dumped on private property.

Washed Ashore: 10 Years of Making Art to Save the Sea

The lead artist and founder of Washed Ashore stands next to a sculpture of a Tufted Puffin.

Lead artist and founder of Washed Ashore, Angela Haseltine Pozzi stands next to Cosmo the Tufted Puffin on Coquille Point in Bandon, Oregon (Photo: Washed Ashore).

Submitted by: Cameron McGrew, Washed Ashore 

Due to the current stay-at-home orders we are unable to organize any beach cleanups, but we will continue to receive marine debris from volunteers at our Art 101 facility south of Bandon via drop-offs.

Washed Ashore has temporarily closed the Gallery in Bandon until we feel it’s safe to reopen our doors. Our exhibit at the Oregon Zoo in Portland is also closed along with our other two exhibits around the country in Oakland, California and Tampa, Florida. Our staff are working from home on sculptures and processing debris in isolated quarters with lots of safety precautions in place.

We will be delivering our newest sculpture, a commissioned Giant California Condor, to the Oregon Zoo on May 11th. Henrietta the Tiger Rock Fish will then be started and finished this year as a permanent piece for Bandon. A 12-foot long sturgeon is next on our list. Please visit WashedAshore.org for more information.

Oregon Marine Debris Educators Meet to Collaborate on the OR MDAP

Workshop participants gather for a group picture.

Participants in the 2020 Oregon Marine Debris Educators meeting after a long day of work on January 30, 2020 (Photo: Kerry Carlin Morgan).

Submitted by: Kerry.morgan@aquarium.org, Oregon Coast Aquarium

In January, the Oregon Coast Aquarium and Surfrider Foundation Oregon organized a workshop to bring together Oregon Marine Debris Action Plan (OR MDAP) education partners, including NGOs, academia, and agencies, to coordinate and improve the organizations’ marine debris messaging, outreach, and education efforts. Throughout the two-day workshop, program participants heard presentations on policy updates, an innovation teacher professional development model, messaging research, current plastic pollution science, and a new regional consortium. Work sessions focused on consistent messaging and coordinated communication efforts. By the end of the workshop, participants had agreed to partnering on a new messaging platform, an Ocean Champions campaign, a corporate responsibility campaign, and to build on Surfrider’s successful 2019 Rise Above Plastics social media campaign as a template for a 2020 effort. Transportation for this amazing opportunity to network and plan was generously supported by the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

50 Years of Taking Care of Oregon

Volunteers pose for a photo at a beach cleanup.

SOLVE’s Office Assistant, Wendy Barrow (second from left) was joined by some of her friends at Beverly Beach State Park for last year’s Spring Oregon Beach Cleanup. They were four of the nearly 10,000 SOLVE volunteers who participated in a SOLVE supported beach cleanup in 2019 (Photo: Jon Schmidt).

Submitted by: Jon Schmidt, SOLVE

SOLVE celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2019 by continuing to take care of Oregon with the help from dozens of partners and tens of thousands of volunteers. In addition to the successful annual spring and fall beach cleanups, other highlights include introducing two new programs. Keep it Pretty, Rose City engages Portlanders to conduct litter cleanups around the city, preventing debris from entering waterways such as the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. Oregon Adopt-A-Beach in partnership with Oregon State Parks was launched in November and by the end of the year there were already dozens of adopted beaches from Del Rey Beach near Gearhart to Sport Haven Beach in Brookings. There are many beaches still available to adopt. If you or your organization is interested in adopting a beach or supporting a different SOLVE event, visit www.solveoregon.org to learn more. Here’s to the next 50 years of SOLVE!

Oregon Educators Explore Marine Debris at Coastal Workshops

Workshop participants sort collected marine debris.

Educator workshop participants sort collected marine debris in Bandon, Oregon on January 4, 2020 (Photo: Cait Goodwin).

Submitted by: Cait Goodwin, Oregon Sea Grant 

With support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, Oregon Sea Grant held two full-day workshops for teachers in early 2020, reaching 26 formal and informal educators. One workshop was held in Bandon, Oregon on January 4th, and the other in Garibaldi, Oregon on February 29th. In each training, participants engaged in hands-on classroom and field activities, learned about current microplastics research, and explored ways to incorporate art, science, math, technology and engineering into the study of marine debris. The facilitators shared and modeled activities from the Marine Debris STEAMSS curriculum housed on the Oregon Coast STEM Hub website. During both workshops, the sun came out just in time for our outdoor field experiences!

CoastWatch Marine Debris Outreach During Quarantine

Microplastics in a pile of driftwood.

Microplastics in driftwood pile at Fort Stevens (Photo: Jesse Jones).

Submitted by: Jesse Jones, CoastWatch

CoastWatch (a program of Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition) has been working creatively to adapt to the challenges posed by stay-at-home orders and continue to work on marine debris outreach and education. As beach access and even beaches themselves have been closed, some volunteers have negotiated with State Parks staff and were granted access to continue their accumulation surveys, but for the most part, surveys have been put on hold.

Since Governor Brown’s stay at home order, CoastWatch began broadcasting informational, live webinars with guests, including a marine debris series. The goal is to keep the information flowing about marine debris on Oregon beaches and provide resources and tools about how to meaningfully participate when beach access is resumed. The series includes an opening session with the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s new Pacific Northwest Regional Coordinator and will be followed by four sessions: a panel of volunteers who are participants in accumulation surveys, a state parks beach ranger, a marine debris artist, and a representative from the new Peak Plastic Foundation. For more info go to: www.oregonshore.org/coastwatch or https://www.facebook.com/OregonShoresCW/.