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Beachcombers can look for research project's 'drift cards'

GULF OF MEXICO — A Texas A&M University research program could put cash in a finder’s pocket for something that washes ashore along the Gulf of Mexico.

So-called “drift cards” are meant to study ocean currents. People who report the location of the biodegradable notes will be eligible to win a $25 gift card.

Piers Chapman, who is head of oceanography at A&M, says the project is co-funded by oil giant BP as part of its $500 million Gulf of Mexico research initiative. The program was established to study the effects of the deadly 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill.

The yellow cards are written in English and Spanish. About 250 drift cards were released in early April and about 40 responses have been received as of this week. An estimated 5,000 cards will be released in the next few months.

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