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JUNEAU - The Juneau-based Marine Conservation Alliance Foundation got $1 million in stimulus money from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to clean up marine debris in Alaska.
Much of the trash in remote Alaska waters is old fishing gear. It degrades habitat and threatens fish, marine mammals and seabirds. Last year, the MCA Foundation helped collect about 150 metric tons of trash, largely from Norton Sound, the Gulf of Alaska, the Bering Sea and Aleutians.
The foundation is the nonprofit arm of the Marine Conservation Alliance, a commercial fishing trade group that includes fishermen, boat owners, processors and Alaska fishing communities.
NOAA got $167 million for coastal habitat restoration from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Three other projects in Alaska were among the 50 the federal agency funded, including a plan to restore some 466 acres of estuarine fish habitat near Ketchikan.
NOAA has mapped its stimulus package projects online: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/habitat/restoration/restorationatlas/recovery_map.html.
The MCA Foundation has also mapped marine debris cleanups online: http://www.mcafoundation.org/googlemap.html.