By Charlie Plybon
After years of heightened awareness and activity on marine debris issues from extensive volunteer cleanup efforts to marine debris policy advocacy such as bag bans and plastic reduction initiatives, Oregon has completed a comprehensive planning effort to prioritize statewide actions to address marine debris. Working in collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program, Surfrider played a lead role in supporting coordination and development of the first ever Oregon Marine Debris Action Plan. This comes as good news to Surfrider Chapters throughout the state who have worked tirelessly on this issue for years, positioning themselves as leaders in volunteer cleanup efforts, data collection, and advocacy for marine debris reduction policies at the local, state and national level.
Surfrider’s goal over this multi-year process has been to work strategically to prioritize plastic pollution strategies and actions within the marine debris plan, linking our work on the ground to plastic reduction strategies at the consumer, management and policy level. Beyond demonstrating strong marine debris knowledge, data and volunteer efforts to help inform the planning, our chapters and staff played a lead role with engaging Oregon’s Ocean Policy Advisory Council in the statewide effort and informing the Governor’s office on key policy strategies that should be incorporated into the plan.
We’re proud of the coordination efforts we put into this process and the outcomes of the final plan, now approved and posted on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Debris Program website here. The plan outlines Oregon’s goals, strategies and actions within various categories of Prevention, Removal, Research, and Coordination.
Above Photo: Oregon’s Policy Manager, Charlie Plybon with Governor Kate Brown and Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins following presenting the Marine Debris Action Plan to the State Land Board.
Surfrider Foundation is recognized as a lead organization for many of the plan’s actions and future strategies. The plan includes policy strategies such as Surfrider’s current legislative efforts to establish an Ocean Beach Fund and additionally highlights Surfrider as the lead organization to support plastic reduction policy strategies. At the ground level the plan points towards our many Surfrider chapter programmatic efforts in Oregon, such as our Hold on To Your Butts Program and our Rapid Response Cleanup efforts. From working with NOAA in planning the workshops to presenting to the State Land Board, Governor’s office and leading Ocean Policy Advisory Council’s engagement, our chapters and staff in Oregon have made an immeasurable difference in Oregon’s prioritization of marine debris and plastic pollution as an ocean issue through this statewide planning effort. California is just getting this process underway and surely our efforts in Oregon will help pave the way for our engagement here and within other states’ marine debris planning efforts.