The night before the trash trawl

Tonight I went with Stiv Wilson from 5 Gyres out to Deale to check out Obtuse, the sailboat we’ll be using this week for the trash trawl. We got a look at the equipment and riggings, chatted about routes and protocols, and especially consulted the weather reports. We also assembled the manta trawl, a 20×60 centimeter box with a fine-mesh net attached that will capture any plastics (and, really, anything else) that is in our path.

We’ll be putting the samples into jars and shipping them off to Florida Atlantic University for analysis. We expect to learn a lot about the types of plastic in the Bay, as well as an estimate of how prevalent plastic pollution is in these waters.

We have some fantastic people coming with us this week, from many of the top environmental organizations in the state. (I work with some great people 🙂 ) On board this week we have representatives from the National Aquarium, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Maryland League of Conservation Voters, Blue Water Baltimore, and Alice Ferguson Foundation, plus local and national science and environment reporters, community activists, a teacher, and even Jeff Corbin and Nick DiPasquale, the top two EPA officials working on the Chesapeake Bay.

This is going to be awesome.

Everyone on board is expected to both help with the sampling and surveys, but also talk about the project. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see the stories. You might also like what you see on the 5 Gyres and National Aquarium feeds. We’ll be using the hashtags #chesbay #trashtrawl throughout.

Many many thanks to the Chesapeake Bay Trust for financial support, Joey Totes and Zeke’s Coffee DC for in-kind support, and the National Aquarium for communications support.

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