The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Debris Program is pleased to release the “Texas Marine Debris Emergency Response Guide: Comprehensive Guidance Document” (Texas Guide), the final emergency response guide for the Gulf of Mexico states. The Texas Guide is a product of a collaborative process with local, state, and federal agencies. The Guide aims to improve preparedness for response and recovery operations following an acute waterway debris incident in coastal Texas.
Marine debris ends up in the ocean every day as a result of littering and poor waste management. Occasionally, such as during natural disasters, large amounts of debris enter nearshore coastal waterways all at once. Disaster-related debris can include abandoned and derelict vessels, construction and demolition debris, and household hazardous waste, among other types of debris. It can be a hazard to navigation, damage habitat, and pose pollution threats.
To mitigate these impacts, the NOAA Marine Debris Program facilitates response planning efforts in coastal states, including the development of guidance documents. The Texas Guide outlines existing response structures at the local, state, and federal levels to facilitate a coordinated, well-managed, and immediate response to waterway debris incidents impacting coastal areas in the state of Texas. It identifies individual organizations’ roles and responsibilities and includes an overview of permitting and compliance requirements that must be met before waterway debris removal work begins.
The Texas Guide serves as a complete reference for waterway debris response in Texas. The accompanying Field Reference Guide includes the most pertinent information for quick reference in the field and during emergency response operations.