More than $7 million is going toward the removal of abandoned vessels and other large marine debris along the Gulf coast thanks to funding awarded to the Gulf of Mexico Alliance. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Debris Program supports this project which is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
The governors of the five Gulf states formed the Gulf of Mexico Alliance to increase regional collaboration. The Alliance brings together diverse talent and maximizes the impact of available funding to address priority issues in ways a single entity cannot.
“Nearly 100 derelict vessels have already been identified for removal,” said Laura Bowie, Gulf of Mexico Alliance executive director. “Over the next four years, we’ll work with the Mississippi State University Extension Service and state agency partners to remove these vessels. This will improve coastal and marine habitats for the people and wildlife that call the Gulf home.”
Whether due to natural occurrence or negligence, derelict vessels can destroy habitat, leak pollutants, and pose a navigation hazard to boaters. Coordinated, cautious removal efforts can minimize the negative impacts of marine debris to critical habitats, wildlife and people.
“It is an honor to partner with the Gulf of Mexico Alliance to further the Texas General Land Office’s mission to keep the Texas coast clean by ensuring derelict vessels are disposed of safely. Removing derelict vessels not only keeps the Texas coast cleaner but also promotes the trade and commerce that is so vital to our state,” said Texas Land Commissioner Dawn Buckingham, M.D. “To date, Texas’ own Vessel Turn-In Program has helped to safely remove over 1,300 derelict boats from coastal areas. The Alliance offers even more diverse opportunities for collaboration and funding, and we will use these opportunities to expand upon this critical work and secure a better future for our coastal and marine habitats and the many communities that depend upon the health and vitality of the Gulf coast.”
The Alliance will coordinate with state programs to remove more than 20 vessels in Texas, 25 in Mississippi, and 45 in Alabama during the first phase of the project. Following these efforts, a second phase will begin in 2024 to identify and remove additional vessels and other large marine debris items from locations in all five Gulf states.