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Virginia CZM Program: 2011 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:VA CZM logo



Virginia Department of Environmental Quality - Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program Office

Project Title:

Ocean Resources: Marine Debris Summit

Project Description as Proposed:

Problems associated with marine debris in Virginia’s waters and federal waters offshore of Virginia include resource damage, threats to wildlife and habitat, aesthetic impacts, economic impacts, threats to human health and safety, user conflicts, and boating safety. Although a number of nongovernmental organizations are involved in marine debris management, efforts often lack coordination and there is a need to prioritize actions. During Virginia’s Section 309 Assessment process, the need for a Virginia Marine Debris Plan was identified as a means of providing better coordination and prioritization. 
For this project the Marine Spatial Plan/Marine Debris Plan Coordinator (see Task 95.01) will work with Virginia Sea Grant to host a Marine Debris Summit as an important first step in developing an action plan. The summit will bring together marine debris experts, including state and local resource managers, community educators, and potential funders. The goals will be to raise awareness and to identify and prioritize particular marine debris issues that Virginians consider most critical to address. The summit will help to ensure stakeholder buy-in and input in the action plan. 

Virginia Sea Grant (VASG) will act as a neutral broker in hosting and organizing the summit. They will provide science-based information to decision makers and stakeholders and help provide staff support to a summit steering committee.  Contractual funds in this task will be used to support the Summit after key decisions are made regarding its format and content. A revised scope of work for this task will be submitted to NOAA once the Coordinator is hired and the Steering Committee is organized and has developed a detailed work plan for the summit.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Laura McKay, 804.698-4323;

Project Status:

10/1/11 - 9/30/12; Project Completed

Final Product Received:

Virginia Marine Debris Summit Final Report (pdf)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center provided the facilities to host a two-day Virginia Marine Debris Summit on February 27-28, 2013.  A planning committee comprised of CZM staff and representatives from Virginia Aquarium, Clean Virginia Waterways, VCU, VIMS and DEQ worked together to develop the agenda, secure speakers and facilitators, and undertake all logistics.  Sponsored by the VA Coastal Zone Management Program and the Aquarium, the summit welcomed 75 attendees to Virginia Beach.  The summit brought together marine debris experts with target audiences, state and local resource managers, community educators, and potential funding sources to raise awareness and to identify and prioritize particular elements of marine debris that Virginians consider most critical to address.  Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources, Doug Domenech, opened the summit by reminding attendees of the importance of addressing the debris issue at its source as well as once trash enters the marine environment.  Invited speakers included staff from NOAA and EPA, university scientists, NGOs, industry stakeholders, and state and local governments.  There were more than 15 individual presentations, expert panel discussions, and breakout working sessions during the two day meeting.  The goal of the summit was to lay the groundwork for development of a Marine Debris Management Plan for the state as part of an overall water quality strategy of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO).  Management options from the summit will be presented to the Virginia Coastal Policy Team and to MARCO for consideration.

Logistical support provided by the Aquarium and its catering subcontractor included registration management and fee collection, host hotel arrangements, onsite coordination, food and break services, break-out space for workgroups, set-up and cleaning services, and audio-visual equipment use and support.  Of particular note, the food service provided by the Aquarium and its caterer (Sodexo) and all activities during the event generated zero landfill waste – the limited amount of waste from the event was entirely recycled or composted.  As a result of the sustainability planning, the Marine Debris Summit received the highest rating from the state as a Virginia Green Certified Event.   

Disclaimer: This project summary provides the federal dollars initially awarded to the grantee. Due to underexpenditure or reprogramming of grant funds, this figure may change. For more information on the allocation of coastal grant funds, please contact Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Program Manager, at 804.698.4323 or email:

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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