Back in 2006, the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act was passed (renamed “The Marine Debris Act” in 2012), authorizing the NOAA Marine Debris Program as the federal lead to address the growing marine debris problem. This year marks the ten year anniversary of the program and we will be celebrating throughout the year! As part of our celebration, we will be looking back on our accomplishments over the years (check out our timeline for a review of the past decade!). To start us off, let’s take a look back to 2006:
Although the NOAA Marine Debris Program had been actively working for almost a year already (see this blog), 2006 marked the official authorization of the program. The Act also established an Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee and the development of the Marine Debris Clearinghouse.
Having only just been authorized, the NOAA Marine Debris Program was already hard at work in 2006, responding to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. During this time, the program coordinated the surveying and mapping of debris that posed a hazard to navigation and marine resources. The response led to the creation of the Gulf of Mexico Project, which completed in 2009.
It was also during this year that the NOAA Marine Debris Program began its partnership with the Ocean Conservancy to support the International Ocean Cleanup, an annual event we are still involved in today. This year also marked the official start of the program’s Community-based Marine Debris Removal annual grant competition. Twelve projects were funded, including efforts by the Northwest Straits Initiative to remove legacy fishing nets from the Puget Sound.