Monday, April 14, 2014

Trash Free Seas

This email was sent to the Don Pedro and Knight Island Sea Turtle Patrol, but anyone who walks the beach can participate by monitoring trash accumulation on our shoreline:

Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas program works on various fronts addressing the  problem of marine debris, taking a holistic approach towards solutions. We are just beginning to understand the effects of ocean trash on marine wildlife and know that sea turtles are often disproportionately affected by plastic pollution and other debris while in the water and on the beach. Very little research and data exist on the amount and type of trash that female sea turtles face when nesting and also what debris obstacles their hatchlings must overcome in their trek to the sea.   We are reaching out regarding a potential collaboration with Don Pedro/Knight Island Sea Turtle Patrol to monitor beach debris in conjunction with existing sea turtle monitoring efforts.

This past summer, Ocean Conservancy partnered with the Wrightsville Beach Sea Turtle Project in North Carolina to obtain marine debris data in existing sea turtle monitoring transects patrolled by volunteers each morning. We equipped volunteers with ocean trash educational materials and our simple marine debris monitoring data form, which they utilized to document and remove debris. The results were quite impressive, and we’re in the process of analyzing the relationship between nesting success/false crawls and debris density.

As we look toward the 2014 nesting season, we’re planning to expand the geographic scope of this project throughout the southeastern United States. Moreover the Trash Free Seas program sees great potential in conducting additional, more robust monitoring along some of Florida’s protected shorelines. As one of the go-to authorities for sea turtles in Florida, we would value the opportunity to chat further about a potential collaboration with your organization during the 2014 nesting season.
If you are interested in learning more about this project, we would love to speak with you further on how we might collaborate. We understand that sea turtle nest monitoring already requires a substantial amount of your time and attention and know that existing monitoring regimens takes top priority. We believe this is an opportunity that will benefit both sea turtle conservation efforts and the investigation into how we might prevent trash from entering our ocean and beaches in the first place.

Please see the attached document [CLICK HERE] which briefly describes the project and outlines how volunteers can contribute. We look forward to hearing from you and thank you in advance for your consideration.

Thank You,

Sarah Kollar
Special Projects Assistant


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