2021 Washington Marine Debris Action Plan Released

Posted Wed, 10/06/2021 - 11:00

Cover of the 2021 Washington Marine Debris Action Plan.The NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) is pleased to share the 2021 Washington Marine Debris Action Plan. This document is the result of a collaborative effort between the MDP and federal and state governments, tribes, nongovernmental organizations, industry, and academia, and represents a partner-led effort to guide marine debris actions in Washington State for the next two years.

Marine debris such as derelict fishing gear, abandoned and derelict vessels, creosote waste, consumer products, and microplastics commonly pollute the waterways of Washington State. For the last fifty years, dedicated regional organizations have worked to remove and prevent marine debris. These groups continue this legacy of stewardship today and the Washington Marine Debris Action Plan is but one expression of it. 

The purpose of the Washington Marine Debris Action Plan is to provide a strategic framework to facilitate and track actions in support of the identified strategies that prevent and reduce marine debris throughout Washington State, including the Puget Sound, the Northwest Straits, Washington’s Pacific Coast, the Columbia River estuary, and inland sources. The prevention of marine debris is the primary goal of this Action Plan, with a special focus on outreach and education efforts to reduce the influx of marine debris into the environment.

The Action Plan has four goals, with 20 strategies and 169 actions that define how each goal will be achieved. The goals are:

  • Goal 1: Prevent the generation of marine debris through coordinated actions that include community engagement, policy changes, best management practices, and incentive programs.
  • Goal 2: Locate, identify, remove, and recycle or dispose of land- and ocean-based marine debris from Washington’s shorelines and waters.
  • Goal 3: Conduct coordinated, high-quality research to inform actions that reduce the adverse impacts of marine debris.
  • Goal 4: Coordinate marine debris actions effectively throughout Washington State.

The MDP undertook multiple steps to coordinate the development of the Action Plan, including soliciting partner feedback, one-on-one planning calls, a two-day virtual workshop, and incorporating written comments from partners. Over 50 Washington marine debris stakeholders, representing federal and state governments, tribes, nongovernmental organizations, industry, and academia, provided updates to the 2021 Action Plan. 

The overall Action Plan duration is six years (2018–2024). The 2021 Action Plan operational cycle is two years. At the end of an operational cycle, partners will meet at a workshop to update the Action Plan. After six years, the Action Plan will be thoroughly evaluated and modified as needed.

The MDP greatly appreciates this collaborative effort. For more information, please contact Andrew Mason (andrew.mason@noaa.gov).