This summer will be the second and final summer of the NOAA-funded Tugidak community marine debris clean up program.
“It’s on Tugidak Island, a really beautiful and super exciting place to spend time.”
That’s Tom Pogson, the director of marine programs at Kodiak Island Trails Network. Pogson spent a sizeable portion of his summer on Tugidak Island last year, where he helped facilitate the hardworking volunteers that ITN flew to the island to clean the beaches. Tugidak is a part of the Trinity Island Group, south of Kodiak.
Pogson said NOAA funded two years worth of removal and kicked off the program last year.
“And this year we’re going to concentrate on the tidal zone and the near shore environment. And the goal is to clean as much of the beach as we can without going too far inland, because going inland causes a lot of disturbance and it’s difficult to remove the debris. We’re focusing on plastics, foam and things that are really nasty for the environment. Not so much on metal and aluminum – which is relatively inert.”
Pogson said ITN crews and volunteers will head to the island around July 8, and wrap up their work by August 17. He said the organization is currently looking for volunteers to commit to one or two weeks during that time frame.
Last year a total of 13 volunteers and 6 staff members spent a combined 37 days on the island and filled 130 super sacs with debris – or roughly 33,000 pounds. Pogson said that was collected from 4.5 miles of coastline.
To put the density of debris on Tugidak in perspective, Pogson said 80,000 pounds were cleaned up by ITN from 50 miles of coastline on Afognak Island.
“There’s at least three times as much debris down on Tugidak as there is up on Afognak and there’s a lot of debris on Afognak.”
He said this will be the organization’s last season on Tugidak, pending future grants to help fund further efforts.
The full Tugidak schedule is on ITN’s website.
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