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Marine Debris Program and Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve up on Binational Management of Solid Waste and Flooding

April 5, 2021 — On March 25-26, the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR) hosted a virtual workshop, Binational Management of Solid Waste and Flooding, with more than 130 participants representing the U.S. and Mexico. 

Marine debris at the edge of a body of water.
Debris in the Goat Canyon Sediment Basin. Image credit: TRNERR.

The workshop, which included simultaneous interpretation, was funded by a NOAA Marine Debris Removal Grant. Presentations characterized the binational challenges of solid waste and flooding at the United States / Mexico border and shared lessons learned from the late 2019 Matadero Canyon emergency, where intense rain mobilized mismanaged solid waste, creating a debris blockage that caused severe flooding just south of the United States border. Local government officials from Tijuana characterized solid waste issues and described steps taken during and after the Matadero event, and the U.S. EPA discussed the forthcoming Border 2025 program.

Representing OR&R, Director Scott Lundgren opened the workshop. Sherry Lippiatt, California regional coordinator for the Marine Debris Program (MDP), presented an overview of marine debris challenges and solutions in California, and Amy Gohres, response planning project manager for the MDP, shared information about marine debris emergency response guides that have been developed for US states on the east coast.           Yaritza Rivera-Torres, hurricane response coordinator for the MDP, helped to facilitate breakout groups.

On the second day, breakout group participants identified specific needs for improved disaster response coordination and tools to improve coordination. During polling, 100% of attendees said they were interested in continuing this effort. TRNERR and other stakeholders look forward to future work to build on this workshop and formalize efforts to coordinate on emergency response to binational solid waste events.

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Last updated Tuesday, November 8, 2022 1:44pm PST