The NOAA Marine Debris Program (Program) is proud to release the Great Lakes Land-based Marine Debris Action Plan 2018 Action Summary Report. This report highlights all the important work completed by Great Lakes partners, as the plan officially comes to a close in 2019. Since creating the first the Great Lakes Land-based Marine Debris Action Plan (Plan) in 2014, over 30 participating organizations around the region have worked together to complete 22 actions addressing marine debris in the Great Lakes. They are now actively working on 26 additional actions.
The Program works with organizations, governments, and concerned citizens to address marine debris issues nationwide. It recognizes that marine debris is everyone’s problem, so we must all be part of the solution. To this end, the Program works with partners in regions across the country to facilitate the creation of plans like this that help collectively tackle the problem of marine debris. By identifying where work is being done, figuring out gaps in our knowledge, and coordinating future work, we can address marine debris more efficiently and effectively.
The Great Lakes Land-based Marine Debris Action Plan was one of the first regional planning processes facilitated by the Program. NOAA held a series of workshops between 2011 and 2014 to bring together diverse partners from across eight states and one Canadian province. Federal and state agencies, researchers, local groups, and non-governmental organizations developed the Plan collaboratively through these workshops, creating a living document that is by and for the region.
The Plan was created to span five years, from 2014 to 2019. Since that time, the issue of marine debris has grown and changed. As the general public has become more aware of the problem, its interest in the Plan has also grown. Every year new partners become involved, actions are revised, and successes are celebrated. Thanks to the great work of all the partners involved, the Plan is an inspiration not only regionally, but nationally and internationally as well. The Plan highlights the success of the collaboration between organizations in the United States and Canada. It has also spawned the development of local action plans around the region. The latest reauthorization of the Program, the Save Our Seas Act of 2018, even included a statement supporting the Plan and recognizing that it has been vital to the ongoing efforts to clean up the Great Lakes.
As the Plan enters its final year, the Program recognizes that there is still work to do, despite all the success the Plan has enjoyed. This will be the first regional action plan to wrap up. Its conclusion will give the Great Lakes community and the Program the opportunity to review successes and challenges over the past five years, and forge a new path forward. The Plan will be evaluated with partners this fall, and then work on the next plan begins!
To learn more, check out the 2018 Action Summary Report.