Social network for innovation launches environmental challenge to help BOEM protect endangered sea turtles
WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — HeroX, the leading platform and open marketplace for crowdsourced solutions, has launched its newest crowdsourcing challenge, Better Call Trawl, a challenge to better understand how effective current relocation trawling methods are at protecting sea turtles during offshore dredging operations. The competition invites data scientists and engineers, statisticians, and scientists to analyze the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s (BOEM) data, evaluate the effectiveness of current sea turtle relocation trawling practices, and develop an analytical tool that can help improve future protection efforts. The challenge will award up to $40,000 in prizes for top solutions.
BOEM is responsible for managing the nation’s offshore energy and mineral resources in an environmentally responsible way. The Bureau helps address the ongoing erosion of America’s beaches by authorizing dredging in the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) to collect sand from the ocean floor for coastal restoration and beach replenishment. However, sea turtles near the seabed are at risk of being caught in these dredges and injured, often lethally. To reduce the risk to these federally protected species, specialized trawling vessels are contracted to safely catch and relocate turtles away from the areas before and during dredging operations. However, little is known about how effective current relocation efforts are in preventing harm to sea turtles and what opportunities may exist for improvements.
“BOEM is committed to mitigating beach erosion by authorizing the use of OCS sand for coastal restoration and beach replenishment projects, but we must consider and balance the risk to federally protected sea turtle species in our decisions,” states Doug Piatkowski, a BOEM marine biologist. “While we don’t know how efficient relocating sea turtles during dredging operations is, we are swimming in data. We’re looking for a new perspective on our existing data which can inform and improve ways to protect these threatened and endangered species.”
Challenge participants are tasked with developing an analytical tool that will leverage BOEM data such as sea turtle movement, behavior, catch data from trawling, and additional oceanographic data to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of sea turtle relocation trawling during the dredging process.
THE CHALLENGE: Submit analytical tools, visualizations, and dashboards using provided data to answer questions such as:
- How many at-risk sea turtles does relocation trawling actually catch and move?
- How many non-at-risk sea turtles are captured and moved?
- How does the relocation trawling efficacy (at-risk sea turtles/ non-at-risk sea turtles captured) change over the period of dredging? Throughout the year? With differing weather conditions? etc.
- What additional data could be collected to bolster your confidence in the conclusions?
THE PRIZE: Up to six winners may be selected to share the total prize amount of up to $40,000. Grand prize winner will be awarded $15,000.
“With the right data, BOEM will be able to inform relocation trawling guidelines and future research directions related to dredging,” said Kal Sahota, CEO, HeroX. “Having an analytical system in place can help the bureau minimize harm to the sea turtle population and leverage these findings for additional environmental issues affecting the world’s oceans.”
More information on the challenge and eligibility requirements can be found at HeroX.com/BetterCallTrawl.
HeroX is a platform and open marketplace for crowdsourcing innovation and human ingenuity, co-founded in 2013 by serial entrepreneur, Christian Cotichini and XPRIZE Founder and Futurist, Peter Diamandis. HeroX offers a turnkey, easy-to-use platform that supports anyone, anywhere, to solve everyday business and world challenges using the power of the crowd. Uniquely positioned as the Social Network for Innovation, HeroX is the only place you can build, grow and curate your very own crowd.
BOEM’s mission is to manage development of U.S. Outer Continental Shelf energy and mineral resources in an environmentally and economically responsible way. BOEM develops, funds, and manages rigorous scientific research studies to inform its policy decisions on offshore energy and mineral resource development.