Ferguson sells PVC pipe to local plumbers and contractors every day. In June, the company received a request for PVC pipe from an unexpected customer – the Virginia Aquarium’s Stranding Response Team.

“We know PVC can be used for many applications,” said Valerie Barnes, branch manager of Ferguson’s Virginia Beach location. “But we weren’t sure how it could help the Stranding Response Team and their work to save marine mammals and sea turtles.”

That’s when Barnes learned about a new project, the Pier Partner Program — a cooperative effort among the Virginia Aquarium, six local fishing piers and local conservation partners, like Ferguson.

The company donated 20 feet of 6” PVC pipe and 6” fittings, which was transformed into 10 monofilament fishing line recycle bins. The bins are currently being installed at local fishing piers, like Buckroe Beach and Lynnhaven, to collect used fishing line and keep it out of the ocean. Discarded fishing line and hooks, lures and nets are a leading cause of death or injury to sea turtles, so pier visitors are encouraged to deposit these materials into the bins.

Another benefit of the program is the recycled fishing line will be used to construct items such as park benches and artificial underwater habitat structures that encourage plant growth and provide cover to promote healthy fish populations.

”With this donation, Ferguson has allowed us to add another conservation component to the Virginia Aquarium Pier Partner Program. Now not only can we count on piers and pier fishers to help rescue sea turtles, we can also ask for their help recycling monofilament fishing line.” Said Pier Partner Coordinator Kathy O’Hara.

“After learning about the program, we were excited to help,” said Barnes. “I wouldn’t have thought that simple PVC pipe could have such a big impact on marine life. We are grateful to have the Stranding Response Team in Hampton Roads and we applaud the work they are doing – not only saving stranded marine mammals, but also educating the public on how to protect them.”

By the numbers…
– Approximately 9,000 sea turtles live in the Chesapeake Bay
– Up to five sea turtles are killed each year in Virginia due to fishing line entanglement
– The Stranding Response Team responds to an average of 200-350 sea turtles in trouble in Virginia each year
– Just last week, the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Team released seven rehabilitated sea turtles at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. A majority of these turtles were hooked near fishing piers in the Hampton Roads area