By: Nancy Wallace
The 2013 year was defining for the NOAA Marine Debris Program. Last December, Congress reauthorized the program and gave us a key new function: addressing severe marine debris events, a pivotal role in the wake of the 2011 Japan tsunami and following Hurricane Sandy. For the program, this meant finding a balance between stopping marine debris at its main source – humans – and planning a response when natural disasters inevitably make the problem worse.
While much of our efforts went toward this response aspect, we also continued the program’s rich tradition of bringing the marine debris community together through innovation. We launched a digital information portal this summer that will be an intersection of science, policy, and best practices for anyone who wants to work on the issue. At the same time, we made progress on regional action plans that will give state, federal, and local groups a path forward to success.
I am honored to work with a dedicated staff and a passionate community that eagerly wants to keep marine debris out of our oceans and Great Lakes. And, with great excitement, I present our 2013 Accomplishments Report, which highlights some of our major achievements over the past fiscal year.