GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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April 2, 2014

Groups target harbor's debris for cleanup

Listen to your mother: Clean your room. Then go help clean your harbor.

A broad coalition of public, private and not-for-profit groups is doing just that on April 11 in a city-wide effort organized by two of Gloucester’s prominent cultural districts.

The Rocky Neck Cultural District and Art Colony and the Harbortown Cultural District, along with the Vermont-based Rozalia Project and Maritime Gloucester, are the driving forces behind the first Gloucester Harbor marine debris cleanup that will stretch from Eastern Point to the Cut Bridge.

“It has been, from the get-go, a great collaboration of folks, from the Rocky Neck and Harbortown cultural districts to us at Maritime Gloucester and all the volunteers,” said Thomas Balf, executive director of Maritime Gloucester. “It’s a great fit and a good collaboration on so many levels.”

The project is set to begin April 10 at 7 p.m. at Maritime Gloucester when Rachael Miller, the founder and executive director of the Rozalia Project, will present a multi-media discussion on the escalating problem of marine debris and what can be done to combat it.

“This is one of the first times that we’ve combined the presentation and the cleanup at the same time, so this is really exciting,” Miller said Tuesday. “The presentation will include various photos and data on physical debris, especially in the Gulf of Maine.”

That will lead into Saturday’s cleanup, which will include students from Gloucester and Rockport schools and volunteers from organizations such as: Maritime Gloucester; Ocean Alliance; Rocky Neck Cultural District and Art Colony; the Manchester-Essex Green Team; the North Shore Sea Scouts; Massachusetts Audubon Society; the city of Gloucester; NOAA; the Harbortown Cultural District; the state Department of Environmental Protection; and others.

The cleanup not only will rid the harbor of some marine debris, but will be the first step in collecting data that shows where the heaviest concentrations of debris are located and what type of debris is most prevalent.

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