UAF wins $5.85M NOAA marine debris award

The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) is partnering with Alaska Sea Grant to administer $5.85 million granted through NOAA’s Marine Debris Program for projects to remove large amounts of debris from remote areas of the state.

The project will carry out seasonal cleanups using vessels to reach debris in remote and high debris accumulation areas, as well as evaluate recycling techniques for marine debris.

UAF was one of 14 recipients of these awards for fiscal years 2022 and 2023, totaling over $69 million in federal funds for marine debris removal.

Specific projects to be tackled by UAF with Alaska Sea Grant were not identified.

Projects recommended for awards under this nationwide competitive funding opportunity continue the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s commitment to make tangible, beneficial impacts to coastal and marine habitats and communities across the nation through a variety of debris removal methods. Funding was provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and leveraged funds from the Inflation Reduction Act. This initiative includes the prevention mitigation and removal of marine debris from coastal communities and marine ecosystems nationwide.

This competition focused on two priority areas. Priority 1 focused on removing large marine debris, such as abandoned and derelict vessels and derelict fishing gear, and Priority 2 on using proven interception technologies to capture marine debris. These two priorities were reviewed as separate, parallel tracks under the funding opportunity.