2015-07-30 / Nature

Working Toward a Healthy Harbor

ON THE WATERFRONT
By Olga Enger

Clean Ocean Access, a Newportbased nonprofit that works to protect the local shoreline and waters, has aligned with Newport Maritime Alliance and the City of Newport Waterfront Commission on a multi-year project to remove debris around the shoreline and provide community outreach.

The common vision for the organizations is a healthy harbor, free of marine debris and safe for swimming.

On July 14, 18 volunteers, including the Newport Harbormaster and representatives of Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, met at Ann Street Pier to begin the cleanup effort and collect data. The project, referred to as the Newport Harbor Cleanup, “will help to create a community that is transformed via education, empowerment and inspiration to promote long-lasting environmental stewardship to maintain in perpetuity the health of the harbor and our shorelines,” explained Dave McLaughlin with Clean Ocean Access.


At a recent Clean Ocean Access cleanup, volunteers collected 500 pounds of debris in 90 minutes. At a recent Clean Ocean Access cleanup, volunteers collected 500 pounds of debris in 90 minutes. As a reminder that Newport’s waters are often in the international spotlight, the mega-yacht owned by Bono, the lead singer of U2, was at the adjacent dock during the operation.

The cleanup effort included two divers, who operated under the direction of Hymie Beaufort from The Dive Shop and a remote operating vehicle (ROV) prepared by Patrick Donovan and Chris Loftus from Meridian Ocean Services.

The team on the dock monitored the ROV with real-time video, relaying information to the divers, who in turn collected the submerged debris. Five hundred pounds of small- to medium-size debris was collected in 90 minutes. Items hoisted up from the harbor floor included tires, lobster pots, a bottom of a toilet, a “no docking anytime” sign, clothes, fishing equipment and more.

Data gathered during these initial cleanups will help shape the multi-year project plan, which will be completed this fall. The team will be seeking support from residents, local businesses, and the federal and local governments.

To get involved with the project, contact McLaughlin at dave. mclaughlin@cleanoceanaccess.org or 401-465-0628.

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