NEWPORT, N.C. (WNCT) – As 2021 came to an end, the NC Coastal Federation looked back at its progress to help conserve the coast over the past year and get ready for its upcoming projects in 2022.

In 2021, the NC Coastal Federation partnered with the Division of Coastal Management to do a large-scale marine cleanup for hurricane debris, as well as abandoned vessel removal. Thus far, they have removed about 80 abandoned vessels and will continue to do so throughout the spring of 2022. They were also able to remove over 800,000 pounds of debris from marshes and waterways.

Going into 2022, the NC Coastal Federation has received funding through the North Carolina General Assembly to continue its marine debris cleanup projects and start a lost fishing gear recovery project. The lost fishing gear recovery project will pull out derelict crab pots, which are bad for the environment and can catch marine animals and wildlife.

Sarah Bodin with the NC Coastal Federation said it’s important to have crews out cleaning up debris along the shorelines to help improve the quality for the future.

“We’re definitely seeing an improvement. It’s important to have these crews out in the environment removing this marine debris, they’re navigational hazards. If we have people boating out, and there’s wood floating around, it’s dangerous for boaters. It’s dangerous for wildlife,” said Bodin.

Bodin said she is excited to get started on the 2022 projects.