Back to top

NOAA Presents at the Tijuana River Valley Binational Emergency Response Guide Workshop to Address Land-Based Marine-Debris

MARCH 11, 2024 — On March 5, the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Preparedness and Response Specialist Jessica Conway and California Regional Coordinator, Christy Kehoe, presented at the Binational Emergency Response Guide (BERG): Coordinating to Address Land-Based Marine Debris Workshop. This one-day workshop, hosted by the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR), brought together agencies and organizations involved in preparedness and response from the United States and Mexico. This hybrid virtual and in-person event was located in San Diego, California. 

Marine Debris Leadership Academy participants visit a trash hotspot in Tijuana, Mexico to discuss its implications throughout the watershed.
Marine Debris Leadership Academy participants visit a trash hotspot in Tijuana, Mexico to discuss its implications throughout the watershed. (Image Credit: Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association).

Storms in this Tijuana River Valley region often bring significant rainfall that can lead to erosion and flooding and result in loss of property or even loss of life. During rain events, debris, plastics, and sediment are mobilized, compromising flood conveyance channels, exacerbating flood hazards, and posing a threat to the marine environment and its ecosystem services. NOAA has a long history of partnering with California State Parks, the Tijuana NERR, and the Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association collective known under the ResiDUOS project to address marine debris on both sides of the border.

As part of this funded project, the Binational Emergency Response Guide was established across multiple binational workshops as a priority among U.S. and Mexico agencies and stakeholders. The workshop helped stakeholders further understand the local, state, and federal response structures needed to facilitate a coordinated, well-managed, and immediate emergency response to debris-related flooding that affects the Tijuana River Valley and adjacent urban canyons in Tijuana, Mexico.

Conway provided a presentation about the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s response efforts, including the new United States Emergency Response Guide and state-specific plans, and how these resources have been integrated in response missions in the past. The workshop attendees then discussed the U.S. guide and how it can be catered to their local waterway and response needs.

The workshop had multiple goals, including: assessing agency perspectives of solid waste and land-based marine debris-related flooding; informing and documenting various BERG elements including past and foreseeable debris-related flooding incidents and response, and common definitions; discussing and establishing boundaries for the BERG in the U.S. / validating spatial boundaries; and assessing opportunities for improved communications and collaboration.

Last updated Friday, March 15, 2024 11:17am PDT