State asks for help with collecting marine debris on Masonboro Island

Masonboro Island (Photo: WWAY)

MASONBORO ISLAND, NC (WWAY) — While paid crews of commercial fishermen are hard at work removing large scale debris along our coast, the N.C. Coastal Federation and N.C. Division of Coastal Management needs your help.

People visiting the Masonboro Island Reserve this holiday weekend can help by placing any found marine debris at collection points marked by Reserve signs at access areas on the island.

- Advertisement -

Visitors are encouraged to share their finds by tagging “@debrisfreenc” on social media.

“I thank our visitors in advance for helping collect marine debris at the Reserve this weekend,” Rebecca Ellin, North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve Program manager with the Division of Coastal Management, says. “Through collaborative efforts such as these, we can reduce marine debris in coastal NC to protect habitats and enhance the safety and enjoyment of our coastal environment.”

Working with small skiffs and small crews, local fishermen have been scouring the public trust areas along estuarine shorelines and into hidden marsh areas of dredge spoil islands to remove large deposits of pressure treated wood, plastic floats, polystrene, and other debris from docks and water front structures damaged by hurricanes. The debris contains harmful chemicals that leach into estuarine habitats and animals, including fish and shellfish consumed by humans. Large deposits of debris pose hazards to navigation, fishers, and marsh vegetation.

Funding for large scale collection of marine debris has come from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation– Hurricane Response Marine Debris Removal Fund, USDA NRCS Emergency Watershed Protection Program, and from state appropriations.