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Macroplastics Stewardship Team Thrives with Community Involvement

August 29

Although our beautiful Hudson River is much cleaner than it once was, marine debris remains a challenge, negatively impacting the river’s water quality and wildlife. As dedicated stewards, we’ve made removing marine debris and studying the plastic pollution in our waters central to our Environment and Education work. These initiatives have not only produced award-winning research, they’ve also helped make our estuary healthier!

Each year, as part of these efforts, our Macroplastics Stewardship Team removes marine debris and collects data on the macroplastics (plastic items over one inch in size) that wash up on the shoreline of the Gansevoort Peninsula. In 2017, we expanded this project by inviting local volunteers to our weekly field surveys, and we were thrilled to have more than 90 community members join our team this spring and summer!

With this increased support, as well as new and improved survey methods, we were able to collect nearly 10,000 pieces of plastic marine debris—weighing in at over 700 pounds! That’s nearly 10,000 pieces of plastic removed from the river, and a substantial set of data contributed to NOAA’s national marine debris database.

In this way, our Macroplastics Stewardship efforts are an encouraging success, enabling us to improve conditions in our Hudson River Estuary, aid national efforts to understand and protect our waters, and build a community of dedicated environmental stewards. We look forward to seeing this team’s continued impact!