REPORT FROM DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES – The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) with assistance from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is awarding six local non-profit, community groups grant funds to help address Japan Tsunami Marine Debris (JTMD) and keep Hawaii’s shorelines clean. The focus is on potential debris originating from the tsunami that devastated Japan in March 2011.

“The six grants totaling $100,000 complement ongoing efforts by community groups that are already working to address marine debris, including debris originating from the Japan tsunami,” said Gary Gill, deputy director of the DOH Environmental Health Administration. “For years Hawaii has depended on volunteers to keep marine debris off our beaches. Today, we are providing a little support for the very big job they do.”

The selected projects will help to reduce the impacts of marine debris from alien species, marine life entanglement, economic costs, and human health and safety. The awardees are:

  • Surfrider Kauai, $25,000 (for Kauai County);
  • Hawaii Wildlife Fund, $20,000 (for Maui County);
  • Recycle Hawaii, $20,000 (for Hawaii County);
  • Surfrider Oahu, $13,000 (for Honolulu County);
  • Kupu, $11,000 (for Honolulu County); and
  • Sustainable Coastlines, $11,000 (for Honolulu County).

The grant funds, which will be administered by the DOH, were provided by a $50,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program and another $50,000 of matching funds contributed by DLNR. Selected proposals will reduce marine debris through beach cleanup and education activities that support ongoing habitat conservation in Hawaii coastal areas. Awardees and projects are located within the Kauai, Maui, Hawaii and Honolulu Counties with a focus on areas that typically receive the most marine debris. A map of these areas is available at www.hawaii.gov/health/epo.  Project selection was based in part on confirmed JTMD items and areas known to accumulate the most marine debris.

To date, there have been eight confirmed JTMD items in Hawaii and more than 1,700 reports of potential JTMD in the United States and Canada. The public is urged to report findings of potential JTMD to DLNR at (808) 587-0400 ordlnr.marine.debris@hawaii.gov, and to NOAA atdisasterdebris@noaa.gov.

For guidance on “what to do if you see debris in Hawaii’s ocean or beaches” go to: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/JTMD-Guideline3.pdf

For the latest information on JTMD, please visit the DLNR Marine debris website at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/marine-debris/ or theNOAA Marine Debris Program website at http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/tsunamidebris/.

 

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