Statewide Stakeholders Come Together for Virginia Marine Debris Summit
OCT. 17, 2022 — From Sept. 27-28, the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP), within the Office of Response and Restoration, participated in the Virginia Marine Debris Summit hosted in Virginia Beach, Virginia. This gathering brought together local, state, and federal marine debris and plastic pollution experts in focused discussion around tackling the challenges of consumer debris throughout the commonwealth. The summit agenda was guided by actions under Goal 1 of the Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan.
Program Director Nancy Wallace gave opening remarks to the roughly 100 attendees, highlighting the federal perspective on marine debris prevention and the role of behavior change campaigns in creating lasting shifts away from single-use plastic items.
Mid-Atlantic Regional Coordinator Katie Morgan co-led a Field Methods for Monitoring Marine Debris field trip, where she demonstrated the Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project for attendees. Attendees engaged in dialogue around the role of scientifically rigorous shoreline monitoring as a way to track progress on marine debris reduction goals or set baselines to better quantify the impacts of future management decisions.
Katie also presented on the program's federal funding opportunities alongside the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Trash Free Waters program and Keep Virginia Beautiful. Her presentation highlighted the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Opportunity for Marine Debris Removal, as well as examples for active and past marine debris removal, prevention, and research projects in Virginia.
Several program-funded projects were also highlighted throughout the summit by grantees, including Fiscal Year 2018 grantee Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean’s intentional balloon release prevention campaign, Fiscal Year 2019 grantee Virginia Institute of Marine Science’s research into microplastics and disease susceptibility in steelhead trout, and Fiscal Year 2020 grantee George Mason University and Keep Prince William Beautiful’s plastic water bottle reduction campaign.