CARTHE Partners with Local Organizations and Community in Bay Drift Study

Members of the local community and school kids came together to help make drift cards for the Bay Drift Study. Photo courtesy of CARTHE.

Members of the local community and school kids came together to help make drift cards for the Bay Drift Study. Photo courtesy of CARTHE.

(From Fall 2016 Newsletter) The Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment (CARTHE) was recently approached by the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens with a question they hoped CARTHE could help with. Museum members had been noticing large amounts of marine debris and pollution along the shoreline of Biscayne Bay near Miami, FL and wanted to know why. CARTHE, which is funded by GoMRI, has been studying currents in the ocean to better track the fate of oil during oil spills and was eager to help. They partnered with the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, Frost Science, and the University of Miami to develop a large scale, year- long drift card study focused on better understanding currents, and therefore the marine debris problem, in Biscayne Bay. This effort is called the Bay Drift Study.

The Bay Drift Study will use drift cards, drift plates, and GPS- equipped, biodegradable drifters to track currents in Biscayne Bay through quarterly deployments from September 2016 to June 2017. The team hopes that the information collected through the project will help add much-needed resolution to models of currents in the area, which can help resource managers and responders address concerns such as marine debris and pollution. The Bay Drift Study is also working to encourage the local community to get involved, by helping to make and release drift cards and also report on drift cards they find along the shoreline. The project officially launched with several local schools and organizations coming together to create and release their very own drift cards! Recently, the project expanded further to an area west of Miami Beach, where new pumps have been installed to clear water from the streets during extremely high tides and during storm events. There is concern that this water may be contaminated, so the Bay Drift Study released six additional drifters to track where currents from these pumps are going.

To learn more about this exciting project, visit the CARTHE website here and the GoMRI website here. View photos from their first drift card release in September 2016 here. You can also follow along on social media using the hashtag #BayDrift and on CARTHE’s Vimeo page here, where they will be sharing updated videos throughout the year on the drift cards’ tracks.

[Back to the Fall 2016 Newsletter]