Marine Debris Program Announces the Inaugural Marine Debris Foundation Board of Directors

Posted Wed, 04/06/2022 - 11:30

The NOAA Marine Debris Program is pleased to announce the inaugural Board of Directors of the new Marine Debris Foundation (Foundation). 

NOAA selected twelve individuals to represent diverse points of view, expertise, education, and experiences relating to the assessment, prevention, reduction, and removal of marine debris. This distinguished group will help the Foundation to begin operations and start augmenting federal efforts to address marine debris. 

Trash scattered on sand and among shrubs at the back barrier of a beach.
Glass bottles, plastic waste, and other debris litter a beach (Photo: NOAA).

Marine debris is one of the most widespread pollution problems facing our waterways, Great Lakes, and ocean. Huge amounts of plastics, metals, rubber, paper, textiles, derelict fishing gear, derelict vessels, and other lost or discarded items enter the marine environment every day. In order to help solve this problem, the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act established the Marine Debris Foundation and directed the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere to appoint the Foundation’s inaugural governing Board of Directors (Board). 

Part of the Foundation’s role as a charitable non-profit is to encourage, accept, and administer private funding in support of the mission and activities of NOAA’s Marine Debris Program. The Foundation will also assist state, local, and Tribal governments, foreign governments, organizations, and individuals in mitigating the problem of marine debris and support other Federal actions to reduce marine debris. 

“We look forward to working with this inaugural Board and the Marine Debris Foundation to help tackle the problem of marine debris,” said MaryLee Haughwout, Acting Director of the NOAA Marine Debris Program. “This is an impressive group of people, and we are excited to see how the new Foundation will add to and enhance the work already going on around the country.”

The following individuals have been appointed to serve on the Board of Directors (in alphabetical order):

  • Scott A. Cassel, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Product Stewardship Institute
  • Katie A. Conlon, Ph.D., National Geographic Explorer
  • Julianne J. Curry, Public Affairs Manager, Icicle Seafoods and commercial fisherman
  • Ginny L. Eckert, Ph.D., Director, Alaska Sea Grant and Professor, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • John P. Foley, Founder and Executive Chairman of Peloton
  • Jenna R. Jambeck, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor in Environmental Engineering, University of Georgia
  • Sherry M. Lippiatt, Ph.D., Risk and Finance Communications Specialist, Scoot Science
  • Nicholas J. Mallos, Senior Director, Trash Free Seas Program, Ocean Conservancy
  • Erica L. Nuñez, Program Officer, The Ocean Foundation
  • Neil V. Tangri, Ph.D., Science and Policy Director, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
  • Carrie A. Thompson, Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret) and former Acting Assistant Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Miki K. Tomita, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, Education Incubator

NOAA welcomes the service of the new Board and looks forward to its efforts in helping the Foundation begin operations and work to meet the global challenge of addressing marine debris. The Board will meet in 2022 to discuss next steps and strategic planning. 

About the Marine Debris Foundation:

The Marine Debris Foundation was established on December 18, 2020 with the passage of the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act of 2020 (P.L. 116-224) as a charitable nonprofit organization to augment and support efforts of NOAA and other entities to address marine debris. The purposes of the Foundation include conducting activities that will augment NOAA’s efforts to address marine debris and performing other functions related to marine debris. For more information, please visit the Marine Debris Foundation website.