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

Project Task:VA CZM logo

95.03

Grantee:

Longwood University

Project Title:

Marine Debris Reduction Plan for Virginia

Project Description as Proposed:

The Virginia CZM Program's Section 309 Ocean Resources Management Strategy includes an initiative to create a Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan, with an analysis of key marine debris issues, prioritization of these issues, and development of a plan to address the high priority issues.  Building on the Marine Debris Summit held in Virginia Beach on February 27-28, 2013 (FY11 Task 95.02), this project will research and write this Reduction Plan.

Growing concern about the impacts of marine debris in the ocean and coastal waters, along with increasing emphasis on stormwater management of litter and debris, have led to a new urgency to understand and address the sources of marine debris in Virginia’s coastal and ocean waters.  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), marine debris has become one of the most widespread pollution problems in the world’s oceans and waterways.
Participants of the recent Virginia Marine Debris Summit identified the following issues to be of particular concern in Virginia:
• plastics (food and beverage containers and plastic bags)
• recreational and commercial fishing gear
• cigarette butts and balloons

A marine debris reduction plan is necessary so we can implement educational outreach, pollution prevention, and policies to reduce this form of pollution. Having a plan in place also will help Virginia meet one of its goals as a member of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO). One of MARCO's water quality issues of concern is marine debris. 

Kathleen Register of Clean Virginia Waterways/Longwood University brings nearly two decades of experience on marine debris issues including data collection and analysis, public education and outreach, curriculum materials for school teachers, and policy analysis.

Project Description
The objective of this project is to create a Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan that will have the following components and goals:
• Describe the background of aquatic and marine debris in Virginia
• Summarize litter prevention and solid waste management strategies, programs and initiatives in Virginia and other states for high priority items such as food & beverage packaging, tobacco products, plastic bags, balloons, fishing line and derelict crab pots
• Identify strengths and weaknesses in Virginia’s current responses to marine debris
• Identify methods to increase public knowledge of marine debris issues and methods (e.g., social marketing) to influence the public’s behavior in order to reduce marine debris in Virginia and in the Mid-Atlantic region
• Increase coordination among the organizations currently involved in preventing and removing marine debris to improve efficiencies
• Set measurable goals and objectives for future reduction efforts 
• Outline two years of recommended funding for implementation activities.  These may involve development and promotion of new programs, public education/ social marketing campaigns, training initiatives and monitoring at key sites.
• Integrate input from stakeholders including researchers, community educators, employees of local governments, members of the waste management and recycling community and the organizations that partnered to create the Virginia Marine Debris Summit:
• Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program
• Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center
• Virginia Institute of Marine Science
• Virginia Sea Grant
• Clean Virginia Waterways/Longwood University
• Virginia Commonwealth University
• Virginia Department of Environmental Quality - Office of Pollution Prevention Program 
• NOAA Marine Debris Program
• EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds – Trash Free Waters Program

This 9-month project (July 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014) will require $42,078, most of which will be spent on researching and writing the report.   Once drafted, the Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan will be presented to the Virginia Coastal Policy Team for review, and after completed, for adoption. 

Federal Funding:

$52,020 

Project Contact:

Katie Register, 434.395.2602; registerkm@longwood.edu 

Project Status:

7/1/2013 - 9/30/2014; Project Completed 

Final Product Received:

Developing a Marine Debris Reduction Plan for Virginia (PDF)

Marine Debris and Litter Prevention Initiatives in Virginia Appendices (PDF) 

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

Virginia is the first state on the east coast to have a plan in place to address marine debris. “Developing a Marine Debris Reduction Plan for Virginia,” published in October 2014, was created through a collaborative process, integrating stakeholder comments into reduction goals and strategies to address marine debris issues in the Commonwealth. Under direction of Virginia CZMP staff, the Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan (VMDRP) Leadership Team formed a plan that sets measurable goals and objectives for future reduction efforts with a focus on actions for the near-term (2015-2016). The 114-page document also describes the background of aquatic and marine debris in Virginia, identifies methods to increase public knowledge of marine debris issues, and methods (e.g., social marketing) to influence the public’s behavior in order to reduce marine debris in Virginia and in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Stakeholders involved include researchers, community educators, employees of local governments, members of the waste management and recycling communities, and the organizations that partnered to create the 2013 Virginia Marine Debris Summit held in Virginia Beach on February 27-28, 2013 (FY11 Task 95.02).

Growing concern about the impacts of marine debris in the ocean and coastal waters, along with increasing emphasis on stormwater management of litter and debris, have led to a new urgency to understand and address the sources of marine debris in Virginia’s coastal and ocean waters.  According to NOAA, marine debris has become one of the most widespread pollution problems in the world’s oceans and waterways.

With a plan in place, Virginia can start to implement behavior change campaigns, pollution prevention, and policies to reduce this form of pollution. The plan will also help Virginia meet one of its goals as a member of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO). One of MARCO's water quality issues of concern is marine debris. 

Copies of the report were printed and distributed to NOAA and the VMDRP Leadership Team. The report will be available on the Virginia CZMP web page: http://www.deq.virginia.gov/Programs/CoastalZoneManagement/CZMIssuesInitiatives/MarineDebris.aspx

A shorter document entitled “Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan” has been drafted for completion later in 2014.  

The VMDRP was written by Katie Register of Clean Virginia Waterways who has nearly two decades of experience on marine debris issues. Todd Janeski of VCU (funded from CZM FY 12, Task 95) and Angela Neilan (Community Involvement Specialist, DEQ funded from FY 13 Task 95.01) assisted. Final editing was done by Laura McKay and Virginia Witmer of the VA CZM Program.
 
The initiative to create the plan was part of the Virginia CZM Program's Section 309 Ocean Resources Management Strategy.

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: Laura.McKay@deq.virginia.gov

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to Virginia.Witmer@deq.virginia.gov

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


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