This year marks the ten year anniversary of the NOAA Marine Debris 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!). Let’s take a look back to 2014:
The NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) was hard at work on a number of fronts during 2014. One area where we saw great strides was in our regional planning efforts. With coordination from the MDP, the Great Lakes marine debris community became the second region (after Hawaii) to have a marine debris action plan—“The Great Lakes Land-based Marine Debris Action Plan.” This plan provides a roadmap for partners in the region to address marine debris. In addition, 2014 saw marine debris response planning begin in the Southeast and Florida.
Another important milestone in 2014 was the MDP’s release of the Southern California Economics Study, which showed the impacts of marine debris on tourism, specifically in Orange County, CA. This assessment quantified how much a coastal community could lose in revenue from tourists avoiding littered beaches. However, it also found that reducing debris could prevent those financial losses.
The MDP was also focused on learning as much as we could about marine debris in 2014. We funded three research projects which focused on microplastics in the Gulf of Alaska, debris accumulation in the Gulf of Mexico, and microplastic ingestion by fish associated with brown algae in the Gulf of Mexico. Keep your eye on our blog in the coming months for results as many of our research projects are wrapping up. We use the results of research studies to better address marine debris and are always looking to learn more, so this year we’re offering a research grant once again!
Keep an eye on our blog throughout the year to learn about more of the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s accomplishments over the past decade.