Clean Ocean Access expands marine debris removal and prevention efforts on Aquidneck Island
Clean Ocean Access (COA) has received a grant for $66,370 from 11th Hour Racing to implement two trash skimmers on Aquidneck Island and to create a strategic plan for four additional locations around the State of Rhode Island.
The Aquidneck Island Trash Skimmer Project will reduce the amount of marine debris entering Narragansett Bay from stormwater runoff, increase the recreational and commercial value of the waterfront, bring awareness to the types of re-accumulating debris via education and outreach, and promote environmental stewardship. The Aquidneck Island Trash Skimmer Project has an immediate goal to install, maintain, and operate one trash skimmer at Melville Marina Portsmouth, R.I., in partnership with New England Boatworks, and one trash skimmer at Sail Newport’s North Pier at Fort Adams State Park, Newport R.I., in partnership with Sail Newport and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management. This project builds on the current accomplishments of the two trash skimmers installed in August 2016 at Perrotti Park, Newport R.I., in partnership with the City of Newport Harbormaster, that removed over 6,000 pounds of debris in a four-month period in 2016.
COA President Monica DeAngelis affirmed, “We are thrilled to expand our partnership with 11th Hour Racing to now include Sail Newport, the Department of Environmental Management, and New England Boatworks to support locally driven, community-based marine debris prevention and removal around Aquidneck Island. This will be a valuable long-term contributor to improving our water quality and will not only enhance the aesthetics of Aquidneck Island waters, but the removal of this marine debris will benefit coastal habitat, waterways, wildlife, the fishing industry, and our local economy.”
The Aquidneck Island Trash Skimmer Project strengthens and expands the current efforts for improving water quality and eliminating marine debris from the shoreline and nearshore water of Aquidneck Island. Trash skimmers are a production-ready technology and highly effective method for removing surface marine debris, absorbing toxins and pollutants, and improving the vitality of Aquidneck Island waters.
11th Hour Racing Co-Founder Rob MacMillan explained, “At 11th Hour Racing, we want to promote innovative technology and advance best practices that help to protect our waterways. Our goals for the Aquidneck Island Trash Skimmers are two-fold: to encourage more marinas, sailing centers, coastal communities, and waterfront businesses to adopt this technology as a last line of defense to capture marine debris before it gets washed offshore; and to use them as a tool to communicate with the public to tackle ocean trash. We all have to be responsible on land.”
The partnership with Sail Newport and New England Boatworks will engage a commercial boatyard and a highly used public access site. Installing trash skimmers at these two locations will showcase the effectiveness of this technology in a variety of different applications, as well as help to reach a broader range of publics through educational signage linking land-based litter to marine debris.
Sail Newport Program Director Kim Hapgood expressed, “As stewards of a waterfront facility, it is our responsibility to do everything in our power to keep the water clean and we are thrilled to have this new technology at our sailing center dock. Along with our partners COA, DEM and 11th Hour Racing, in this project, we hope to showcase the marine debris removal, but also inspire and educate sailors on the importance of protecting the harbor and ocean. We have the great privilege of using the water for recreation and we have a duty to preserve its environmental health.”
The long-range goal of the Aquidneck Island Trash Skimmer Project is to reduce the amount of marine debris entering Narragansett Bay from stormwater runoff, increase the recreational and commercial value of the waterfront, bring awareness to the types of re-accumulating debris via education and outreach, and promote environmental stewardship. By partnering with the sailing and marine community, the Aquidneck Island Trash Skimmer Project will leverage the sailing and marine community to amplify the message of stewardship and environmental sustainability.
A Marina Trash Skimmer is shaped like a dumpster, measures 4’x6’x5’ and is attached to a floating dock. A ¾ horsepower water circulation unit on the bottom of the unit forces water out of the skimmer; this results in a current on the surface that collects trash, soaking up oil, and trapping floating debris. Over 300 gallons of water are cleaned per minute. Marina maintenance crews remove the collected debris from within the unit. Marina Trash Skimmers are highly effective, require very little maintenance, work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and use approximately 25Kwh/day resulting in minimal operating expenses.
New England Boatworks Treasurer Tom Rich assured, “New England Boatworks (NEB) has been working hard to update our operational processes to become a more environmentally friendly marina. NEB is using more nontoxic products, lower VOC products, and a collection process to contain contaminates. We have trained our employees and are continuously working with customers and vendors to achieve our goal of certification as a clean marina. NEB takes the environmental impact of our operations very seriously and realizes that our business must do its part for current and future enjoyment of the bay for all. We are excited about adding the trash skimmer to help maintain a cleaner basin where debris from the bay often collects. This will help in our never-ending cleanup operations and we feel it will fit in well within our goal to help promote and achieve a cleaner healthier bay. Please join us for a press conference on May 5th when we will be celebrating our new trash skimmer and making an exciting announcement!”
As reported by Clean Ocean Access Executive Director, Dave McLaughlin, “Marine debris is a time sensitive issue impacting ocean health, but is a solvable problem and starts with smart choices on land. Combining four trash skimmers with our existing year-round shoreline cleanup efforts, and education and outreach efforts – it positions us to achieve our objective to inspire, educate and empower the community to make simple changes to reduce the sources of debris. Whether it is eliminating single-use material from our daily lives or increasing our level of responsibility to ensure no trash ends up as litter.”
COA is committed to making sure Aquidneck Island is a leader in environmental stewardship. Geoff Chamness of Marine Accessories Incorporated reflected, “Marina Accessories is pleased to be part of working with Clean Ocean Access and the marine community on addressing the debris pollutants affecting our oceans and waterways. The Marina Trash Skimmers have been improving the water quality of marinas throughout North America since the early 2000’s. We currently have approximately 30 skimmers in California, four in Hawaii, and four in Rhode Island, along with others from the Gulf Coast into Mexico up to the North end of Vancouver Island. Marina Accessories is looking forward to continuing these efforts with the help of Clean Ocean Access and its partners.”
Clean Ocean Access wants people to visit Aquidneck Island and enjoy all things that make it an amazing destination, but also want them to leave with great memories of how the community is actively working together to take care of the natural resources.