Clean up on the archipelago’s remote Tugidak Island is now underway. This is the second and final year of Kodiak Island Trails Network’s project to remove marine debris from the island, which is southwest of the southern tip of Kodiak Island.
Tom Pogson is the director of marine programs for Island Trails Network, or ITN, and has been on Tugidak for about two weeks now. He contacted KMXT via satellite phone and said so far this year’s clean up is going well.
“We decided that there was enough debris in the area that we cleaned last year and we re-cleaned that area in almost less than half the time and we’re now I think starting the second day of clean up into the new area.”
Last year ITN collected 130 super sacks worth of marine debris on Tugidak and Pogson said this summer they already have 65 bags after only seven days of clean up. The crew spent the first week on the island setting up camp and making sure everything was in working order, and last week volunteers and members of the Kodiak Wildlife Refuge’s Youth Conservation Corps made the trip south to participate in the first wave of debris removal.
Pogson said the weather so far has been incredible, with only two days of rain in the past two weeks. On Friday a new group of volunteers left for the island, where Pogson said they’ll face a few different habitats and terrains that need cleaning. Continue reading
The second annual Kodiak Coast Walk is set for this weekend. The event, sponsored by Kodiak Island Trails Network, or ITN, provides bags to folks wanting to clean up some of the island’s 81 beaches along the road system. Items are then delivered to ITN, who will sort and store the marine debris, which isn’t accepted at the landfill.
To get an understanding of what kind of debris folks will be picking up on beaches this weekend, KMXT sent reporter Brianna Gibbs to clean up the Buskin Beach with ITN’s Director of Marine Programs, Tom Pogson.
The two spent less than 30 minutes cleaning 40 feet of beach at the Buskin River earlier this week, which resulted in roughly 35 pounds of debris. It was a small glimpse of what’s out there on Kodiak’s beaches, and folks can help with clean up efforts during the second annual Coast Walk this weekend.
People can pick up bags between 8 a.m. and noon in the parking lot of the Little School of Dance on Saturday and Sunday. There they can also look at a map of Kodiak beaches and sign up for where they’d like to go, that way there isn’t any overlap. Then, between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. full bags can be dropped off at Pier II in the fenced area north of the Horizon office.
There will also be a Coast Walk kickoff barbecue at the Fort Abercrombie State Park group shelter on Friday from 5:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. It is a potluck, so bring a dish to share. Bags and maps will be provided there.
Kodiak Island Trails Network’s marine debris storage yard at Gibson Cove has reached it’s capacity. Director Andy Schroeder said the super sacs pictured below are stacked 20 feet high. Brianna Gibbs Photo
Last week KMXT told you about marine debris clean ups happening across Kodiak and how they are being funded.
Last summer Kodiak Island Trails Network cleaned more than 80,000 tons of debris from islands in the northern part of the archipelago, and is hoping to have similar success on Shuyak Island and the northeast portion of Afognak this year.
The amount being cleaned is certainly impressive, but handling the debris once it’s removed is another challenge in itself. KMXT’s Brianna Gibbs has the final installment of our series on marine debris, and what happens to the items after they’re cleaned from the beaches.
ITN recently started storing marine debris at a facility leased from the Coast Guard Base, located near the golf course. Brianna Gibbs Photo
The Alaska Forum on the Environment is coming up in February and will feature presenters from all over the state, including Kodiak. Tom Pogson is the director of marine programs and outreach for the Kodiak Island Trails Network and will be presenting at this year’s forum. He said the meetings typically draw more than 4,000 people and focus on topics ranging from toxicology to marine debris.
ITN spent a lot of time collecting and monitoring marine debris last year, so it’s no surprise that it will be the focus of Pogson’s presentation at the conference.
“We did four different marine debris projects last year with funding from the Alaska Marine Stewardship Foundation through the state of Alaska. The legislative appropriation for Japanese tsunami debris clean up and also we did the first year of a two year community marine debris removal from Tugidak Island. And those were four very busy projects.”
Pogson said ITN collected more than 65 tons of marine debris in 2013, which was more than any other year combined. While that amount is certainly impressive, it came at a time when dealing with the debris is increasingly more difficult for the organization. Continue reading
It’s been about four months since Kodiak Island Trails Network hosted a road system beach clean up, but results are finally in. The Coast Walk event took place the first two weeks of June and targeted 81 beaches along Kodiak’s road system for volunteers to document and clean up. That prompted a full summer of unexpected beach clean ups, with various groups and organizations taking on the goal of cleaning and surveying local beaches.
Tom Pogson is the marine debris coordinator for ITN and recently compiled data from summer clean ups between May 9 and September 9. A total of 47 beaches were cleaned during those four months, and 27 more were surveyed for densities of marine debris. Of those, 23 percent reportedly had marine debris amounts that were “light to none,” 5 percent had “light to medium,” 4 percent had “medium to extreme,” and only 1 percent of those beaches had human debris that was “medium to extreme.”
In an email, Pogson said 7 beaches along the road system were not visited, primarily because of they are relatively difficult to access.
In general, Pogson said he is pleased with the clean up efforts this summer, considering 91 percent of the 81 road system beaches were either cleaned or surveyed. Continue reading
There’s no question that marine debris has been washing up on Alaska’s shores for hundreds of years. This summer six Kodiak Island Trails Network staffers and 13 volunteers made it their mission to put a sizeable dent in debris washed up on a remote island southwest of Kodiak. Nobody lives on Tugidak Island. It’s 67 square miles of treeless tundra swept by cold and often extreme winds, about 375 miles southwest of Anchorage. And because of ocean currents, the island has become a dumping ground for marine debris. So much so that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has contributed almost $120,000 to ITN for a two-year clean up project.
For six weeks this summer a handful of folks called Tugidak home and worked daily to clean up more than 26,000 pounds of marine debris. Tom Pogson is the director of marine programs for ITN and spent a good chunk of the summer on Tugidak.
“There’s roughly 130 super sacks that are plum full of debris. There’s lots of heavy sacks, and I’m only assuming that many of the sacks are 200 pounds or heavier, and some of them are much heavier than that. Then there’s 26,000 pounds that would have been removed.” Continue reading