Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Right now, one stands out. We just received the following Christmas email from Rozalia Project's partner and American Promise's homeport and expedition base, Kittery Point Yacht Yard. Tom, John, Chris and their team have made room for us on their docks, kept American Promise safe through Hurricane Irene and have now safely put her to bed for the winter.
The email starts like this:
A lovely card. But then, it goes on to say this:
This is inspiring. We are very grateful to work with an organization who, repeatedly, takes action to back up their commitment to a better environment. They are a certified clean marina, they have more than enough recycling bins that are right on the docks, their yard is immaculate. And they just gave up a Christmas party and presents to their staff in order to support the work we and the Gundalow are doing.
We are honored by this. It makes us double our resolve and we hope that, come this time next year, the hard-working staff at KPYY are proud to know that we did our best on their behalf. And that our Christmas/Hanukkah present to them may not be something you can hold, or put on a coffee table (well, you can hold what we pick up, but an old beer can or muddy old plastic bag may not be what they want on their coffee tables), but is a present of a cleaner ocean floor, a cleaner ocean surface, a whale habitat with less risk, information to further solutions to the problem and more than a thousand people (going for 2,000 next year) who will also make an effort and take action for a better environment.
Thank you Kittery Point Yacht Yard.
This is a sweet topping on an exciting year. We can't wait for more action, technology, outreach, research and strengthening/building relationships with all of our partners present and future.
Happy holidays to everyone.
For a Clean Ocean,
rzm, James and the whole Rozalia Project crew, Board, Advisors + Hickory and Smudge
Monday, October 31, 2011
Interlux even brought me to the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show for the press conference and presentation of the award. It was a great day. Beyond just receiving the grant, I also got to talk with journalists from different parts of the marine world (from Soundings to Fisherman Magazine) and had the opportunity to tell and show people about Rozalia Project and what we do.
I have to admit that for a bit, we did know about this awesome award and were sworn to secrecy (which was a little tough I have to say) but this past week also brought a surprise honor.
In a smooth twist of scheduling, the VideoRay International Partners Symposium (VIPS) happened to be in Key Largo from Monday-Wednesday of last week. I am a regular attendee and presented about how Rozalia Project uses its quintet of technology together to achieve our goals. I also got to teach the new user workshop which I enjoy. This is a well attended event with incredibly bright people from all over the world and from throughout the underwater world. They use their VideoRay ROV's for everything from keeping our ports safe to search and recovery and underwater crime scene investigation to research and monitoring underwater structures. Our keynote speaker at the awards dinner was Chris Fischer from Ocearch. Those are the guys who catch, tag and release sharks - including great whites. And he uses VideoRay's to film the excitement.
The surprise of the week came right before Chris was about to speak, VideoRay gave out their yearly awards... and Rozalia Project won for Best Public Relations story! Brian Luzzi from VideoRay presented me with a beautiful clock/barometer set that will look great on American Promise (and of course tell us when the weather is about to change).
No time to bask in the glory, I am back in the office hard at work looking for interns, looking for partners, writing grants, sending out press releases, and organizing next year's schedule (and there must be more). But, it is certainly worth every minute now to tell all of you how much your support on Facebook, in the voting contests, by email and in person matters. Thank you for helping make this first full year one worthy of these awards.
Now we are psyched to see what we can do next year!!!
For a Clean Ocean and Lake,
Click here for the press release
Click here for a video interview taken by Fisherman Magazine at FLIBS
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Study results: there is a lot of trash and derelict fishing gear, and we're learning where to find it!
- Trawls 1 and 2 were conducted west of White Island, Isles of Shoals
- Trawls 3 and 4 were conducted on Old Scantum ledge, 8 miles SE of Isles of Shoals
- Trawls 5 and 6 were conducted 1-4 miles east of Smuttynose Island, Isles of Shoals
- Trawl 7 was conducted 2 miles west of Appledore Island, Isles of Shoals
- Trawl 8 was conducted 1.5 miles east of Smuttynose Island, Isles of Shoals
- Trawl 5 was the only trawl that was conducted through a visually identified tideline. Seaweed, foam and floating micro, meso and macro marine debris were all observed on the surface in this trawl area.
- Trawls 3 through 8 were conducted under sail
- Trawls 1,2,3,4,6,7,8 yielded an average of 4.714 pieces of marine debris. This equals: 8,731 pieces of marine debris per nautical square mile
- Trawls 1,2,3,4,6,7,8 yielded derelict fishing gear in the form of monofilament fishing line and rope/net fiber that made up 30.3% of the marine debris collected in these trawls
- Trawl 5 bisected a visible tideline and yielded 57 pieces of marine debris. This equals: 105,564 pieces of marine debris per nm2
- Trawl 5 yielded derelict fishing gear in the form of monofliament fishing line and rope/net fiber that made up 66% of the marine debris collected in this trawl
- Trawl 5 contained 22 pieces of monofilament that averaged 3.2cm/piece totaling 70.4cm
- Trawl 5 contained 16 pieces of rope/net fiber that averaged 9.6cm/piece totaling 154.1cm
- Trawl 5 contained 224.5cm total length of monofilament and fiber. This equals 2.245 nm of monofilament and rope/net fiber per nm2
- Tidelines and current convergences can yield up to:
- 105,564 pieces of marine debris/nm2
- 2.25 nautical miles of monofilament, fishing line and rope and net fiber/nm2
- More research is needed to increase the number of tidelines, convergences that are sampled by neuston net to give a good representative sample
- There is a higher density of floating marine debris associated with visible tidelines and convergences
- There is a higher density of floating derelict fishing gear associated with visible tidelines and convergences
- The Western Maine Coastal Current has a high density of floating derelict fishing gear
Monday, September 19, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
This means that on our next Rozalia Project outing on American Promise, we will work even harder on the days assigned to each of our winners and report on our progress. Thank you to everyone who submitted their names to receive our updates and keep in touch with our progress and programs.
A note about Hurricane Irene: We would like to say a big thank you to the Kittery Point Yacht Yard for their care and attention to detail keeping American Promise safe last weekend. When I woke up on Monday morning to find out that Granville was isolated from the rest of the world physically (we only have 3 ways out and all three had large sections of road and whole bridges washed away) as well as verbally (no power, no phone, only have 1 bar of cell coverage on one small part of one road and no internet), it was such a huge relief to hear, through the static of a bad connection, that the boat was 100% fine. I would also like to thank everyone who offered their help (to backpack or mountain bike food in to me, Hickory and Smudge or to bring in a generator, etc.), we are fortunate across the board. Our sympathies are with the people who lost homes and businesses.
The amount of debris caused by and carried around by the flooding here in the middle of Vermont is staggering. It will be interesting to see what we find on the coast as far as hurricane debris goes since all of that water was rushing to the sea. In the case of VT's floods it all headed either to Lake Champlain or out the Connecticut River to Long Island Sound.
We are off for our next Rozalia Project marine debris mission starting this weekend. We will be looking at convergence zones between cold and warm water and inspecting the entire water column to see if we can find areas of increased debris accumulation associated with these boundaries.
We hope you and your families are well after the storm and enjoying Labor Day weekend. Congrats to our winners!
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Sunday, July 24, 2011
It all started with a spectacular sail from the Cape Cod canal, along the Mass coast and into Boston. Luckily Will Lippit from Providence Community Boating joined us for the trip and thanks to his presence, we were able to keep the sails up and short tack our way up the last 2 channels into Boston Harbor into 27 knots with just the 4 of us (Smudge and Hickory stayed wedged between the edge of the cockpit and the liferaft so I am not counting them as crew for this trip).
American Promise and Rozalia Project were hosted by Couragous Sailing and their excellent team of instructors and directors. They could not have been more enthusiastic or accommodating and (through no fault of their own) in need of our trash pick up services. The very first evening we were there, Sloane and I walked the docks with the nets and picked up 174 pieces of trash, much of it micro plastic. The next day we rented a car and headed south as I had the honor and pleasure of presenting about Rozalia Project at the Woods Hole Public Library. This little town on the Cape is the home of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Sea Education Association, the Marine Biological Lab and a lot of smart, movers and shakers of the underwater world. One, Jeffrey Brodeur of Woods Hole Sea Grant, arranged the presentation and treated us to a tour of WHOI. We even got to see Alvin (and in a moment of joyous geekiness, we took pictures in the frame of this famed manned submersible) and we met some of WHOI's scientists and underwater technology pioneers. Very cool.
This was our biggest week yet and we have some important companies and people to thank for making it happen with their financial and in-person support:
Thanks to:Kilroy Realty Corporation
-picked up 1758+ pieces of trash including an historic bottle, Mercury mainsail, 3 pairs of sunglasses, Nike sneaker and pirate flag
-had 407+ people of all ages participate in the program, help get marine debris out of Boston Harbor and the Charles River and get to connect with their underwater world
Saturday, July 16, 2011
So we are just wrapping up programming here at Sail Newport, and I can honestly say it was a great week. Not only did we get to interact with and educate a lot of kids, but we also pulled up an insane amount of trash out of the waters here surrounding Newport. It was incredible to see not only the amount of trash in the water but the forgotten and left behind derelict fishing gear. The Rozalia Project was able to pull 8 massive lobster traps out of the water. Even more shocking was the amount of trash built up in the actual fishing gear and traps; no could have predicted what we found in these traps, everything from beer cans and rubber gloves, to golf balls and PVC pipes. Essentially, there was an overwhelming amount of "trash within the trash." It was probably one of the most gratifying moments I have had thus far with the Project. Even the reactions on the kids' and instructors' faces around us indicated to me that we had shown them something that they would not soon forget. It was a great feeling to be apart of the team to pull those massive under water trash collectors out of the water.
Fortunately, this feeling of success has been one that has seemed to follow us throughout Rhode Island; in the past week we have been through Newport, Jamestown, Providence, and Bristol. While it has been extremely busy, it has also brought us some great kids and lots of opportunities to help communities clean their waters. Amazingly enough, these places while close in distance to each other, I found to be very different from each other. Providence seemed to possess its own kind of energy, and the Community Boating Center it is a wonderful place with an incredibly dedicated staff. Bristol and Jamestown were both quiet places for me, but we made some great finds. At the Herreshoff Museum in Bristol, we were able to take on the slightly different role of treasure hunter. There, employing the ROV and a little bit of diving, we were able to recover a beautiful antique bronze anchor, which we gladly handed over to the museum (it has a permanent home there, go check it out!).
Thursday, July 7, 2011
It has been a great and satisfyingly crazy few days. My last post came from the daylight hours of what turned out to be a lovely and smooth, if not slow, overnight trip the length of Long Island Sound to Newport, RI. In some cases slow is good. Slow let us see 20+ firework shows at the same time along the length of the CT and Long Island shores. Slow let us enjoy only the sound of the water rather than the engine. Slow let us sail through The Race (the potentially extremely rough junction of Long Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean) very near slack tide. And slow let us arrive in Newport in the daylight to come alongside at the Museum of Yachting in Fort Adams. Despite the lack of sleep, we were happy to have a full day or recovery and some boat projects as well as time to watch the last start of the Transatlantic Race (go All-American Offshore team!!!).
After that, slow would not be the appropriate word for what has been going on... more like full-on. We had a great day with the kids at Conanicut yacht Club, around 92 of them! Thanks to a swiftly moving current it was not so much about picking up trash though we did recover a piece of dock fender, as it was about the ROV and the issues and problems of marine debris. CYC's director, Meg Myles, has been doing an excellent job integrating marine education with their sailing education and the kids were informed and excited to recognize creatures they had already learned about... as well as have an explore through the eel grass (which looked like swimming through a jungle). In many ways, I would rather fly the ROV around an environment full of fish, crab, sea urchins, starfish, colorful seaweed and little darting winter flounder than loads of trash. Unfortunately, we are not fooled by the clean bay as July 4th, Sloane, Laura and I picked up 2 huge bags of trash from the shores of Fort Adams in less than an hour.
Thanks to James' 5 am wake up and helming skills, we arrived in Providence in time to roll straight into trash pick up excitement with the Community Boating's STEM program (Science, technology, engineering and math) for the morning and then the sailing programs for the afternoon. This was the first stop where we had American Promise alongside a dock and it was very cool. We organized into stations: Laura gave boat tours teaching the sailors about the boat, its history, navigation and life at sea; Sloane led the net brigade recovering lots and lots of trash that was floating by on the fast moving tide and then sorting, measuring and recording the trash and I was in charge of the ROV/sonar/Smart Tether station.
This stop saw us gain a piece of very exciting equipment, The KCF Smart Tether will let us know exactly where we are, where we are going and where we have been with the ROV, a luxury we have not yet had. We are especially excited to have this new piece of equipment going into the Newport stop where we know that derelict fishing gear is a problem. We will be marking the derelict traps we find so that Clean the Bay can come in behind us with their landing craft and pull it out!
So, the stats so far are approximately:
In 4 days of programs...300+ people have participated, we have picked up 500+ pieces of trash and have traveled a total of around 300 miles. We are on the verge of our first Trash Bash supported by the Boat US Foundation (yipppeeee, thanks to ALL of you who voted last month) and psyched to keep on rolling, meeting great people, having fun with the kids and picking up a whole lot of ocean trash.
If you or anyone you know are near any of our upcoming stops, we have lots of free and open to the public action:
Tonight (July 7): Trash bash, Providence Community Boating from 6-8pm
Friday July 8: Herreshoff Museum, Bristol, RI: boat tours in the afternoon
Saturday July 9: 10-3 trash hunting with the ROV off the docks
Sunday Jul 10: Time TBA boat tours
Wednesday July 13: 5-7pm Trash Bash at Sail Newport
Hope to cross paths (or wakes) with you soon,
rzm and the American Promise crew (right now: James, Sloane, Laura, Hickory and Smudge)
Saturday, July 2, 2011
Thanks to the efforts of the Waterfront Center, Oyster Bay Marine Center and Oak Cliff Sailing Center, it was a great first stop. We had around 136 people participate in the dockside programs and we ran our very first on board program with WFC’s high school sailors.
Thursday morning, we welcomed 4 high school sailors and their 2 instructors/naturalists on board American Promise. After a history of the boat (and tour) as well as an intro to the types and problems of marine debris we designated some sailors as spotters and others asnetters. Before I give you the results, I have to say that we had not seen really any trash during the 2 days of boat work that we had before starting the program. There is a lot of current flushing in and out of the Bay, much of the shore is privately owned (rather than open for picnicking) and the oyster dragging process must get a lot of the trash off the bottom. That said, the kids did a great job spotting and picking up a box full of trash (we are about to weigh and measure it during today’s passage) all in a mere 30 minutes. On the way back, we balanced the low tech (but effective) nets with the high tech and revved up the Tritech Starfish side scan sonar which confirmed our expectations of a flat, uniform bottom (good for the oysters).
We triumphantly motored in to the area where the WFC runs their programs (nets held high) and picked up a mooring next to their oyster dragger turned education/tour boat, Christeen. That afternoon and all day Friday was spent with lots of WFC sailors, their instructors,and the interested general public. We were using the VideoRay ROV and nets off the dock. We were happy to find that there was not a lot of trash on the bottom near WFC’s docks but there were some critters and some beautiful marine flora. Similar to what we found on the surface, you just need to look hard enough and even what seems like a very clean area of the water will give up its marine debris and we pulled out some plastic, a particularly elusive Bud Light can and a metal water bottle.
Sloane did a great job with her first marine debris program and we are now lucky enough to have Vermont sailor, Laura Dunphy, with us for the next week. Laura worked with me over the winter and won a Young Explorers Club grant to join us and study tunicates in Narragansett Bay (as I write this, Laura, Sloane and Hickory are napping on deck in preparation for an overnight sail into Newport).
Before heading for my turn on the helm, I want to say another big thank you to Alicia, Dave and all the instructors and naturalists at the Waterfront Center in Oyster Bay for being our
first hosts, to Oak Cliff Sailing Center for helping to make this happen and for spreading the word (and for some advice on our engine and for taking Sloane out on a classic boat for a Thursday night race) and to the Oyster Bay Marine Center and their launch drivers for the genero
us donation of a mooring and patience as Hickory and Smudge learned to get on and off AP and left handfuls of dog hair in their lovely launches. We appreciate all of the help and genero
sity and are psyched to head into Narragansett Bay for some more boat work, fireworks and best of all, trash pick up and education programs.
Think breeze (so we can keep rolling east under sail rather than motor),
(and the Rozalia Project/American Promise crew: James, Sloane, Laura, Hickory and Smudge)
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
We have time for the general public to join us Friday later afternoon into the evening right off the Oyster Bay Pier! We would love to see you or your friends who are around the north shore of Long Island!
And now, meet, Sloane...
Hey everyone out there, my name is Sloane, and I am the latest crew member to join the Rozalia Project on its mission to clean up our oceans. I am a student studying at the University of Detroit Mercy, but am lucky enough to be with the Rozalia Project for the next two months. While we have only been on the American Promise since Sunday, we have already experienced so much, from picking up trash on the Hudson River to sailing around New York City. New York City from the water was incredibly beautiful and an experience I am sure I will never be able to duplicate. Removing debris from the Hudson prior to sailing into the New York Battery also proved to be very enlightening; within a few minutes we were able to remove over 80 pieces of trash, and undeterminable amount of micro-plastic. It seems to me that even though we have a very busy summer ahead of us, we are also in a position to do a lot of good by removing debris and educating the public on the part they can play in keeping the ocean clean. As with everyone else involved in the Rozalia Project, I am very excited to be here and am looking forward to meeting my fellow ocean enthusiasts!!
Monday, June 20, 2011
In the nooks and crannies in between painting, scraping, cleaning, ordering and planning, I am working on a way for people to follow us (looking like the Spot Messenger) and I do