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Gulf of Mexico Marine Debris Project - Historical

Storm surge and winds from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita left huge amounts of wreckage and waste in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Though the surface may have looked calm, sunken marine debris poses a hazard to boats and fishing gear.

NCEI Stennis worked collaboratively with local, state, and federal stakeholders to determine their data needs and to develop methods of disseminating information about marine debris in an effective, useful manner.

NOAA's Marine Debris Program , NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration and NOAA's Office of Coast Survey , along with state National Sea Grant Offices , led a public outreach effort that included a Gulf of Mexico Marine Debris Project web site . The web site was designed to give users access to printable maps that indicated submerged object location and density.

Gulf of Mexico Marine Debris from Hurricane Katrina

Survey work began in September 2006 in Alabama, Mississippi, and Eastern Louisiana. In 2008, the survey area was extended westward to encompass the entire Louisiana coastline. NOAA's Office of Coast Survey and its contractors surveyed the areas with side-scan sonar and found over 6,500 submerged potential debris items, referred to as contacts. The sonar contacts were mapped and posted on the project web site to advise boaters and assist with marine debris removal.

The maps provide survey data to those who need it for submerged object avoidance and removal activities. The project web site also linked to a scalable Internet Map Server (IMS) that provided information about each identified submerged object. Additionally, it allows users to highlight unique data layers, such as navigation aids and benthic habitat information.

While the project ended in 2009, many of the online resources that were developed are still available as static resources for reference and research.