Marine Debris in


A rocky beach on Santa Rosa Island in California is littered with marine debris.
This region includes the state of California.

California’s 3,400 miles of coastline feature an incredible diversity of habitats and marine life. A mix of major metropolitan areas and vast stretches of remote shoreline leads to a lot of variability in marine debris types and abundances washing ashore. At one extreme, trash booms across Southern California can capture an astounding amount of single-use plastics after the first large storm – or “First Flush” – of the rainy season. On the other hand, an uninhabited beach on the North Coast sees a much lower abundance of land-based debris over a large stretch of shoreline. Just offshore, derelict fishing gear or abandoned and derelict vessels threaten marine species and habitats. Microplastics and microfiber particles are found throughout California ecosystems and waterways. A holistic approach and variety of tactics are needed to solve the problem – but first and foremost is preventing debris at the source. Since 2006, the NOAA Marine Debris Program has worked with partners in the region to address marine debris through prevention, removal, research, monitoring and detection, response, and coordination.

Spot Prawn trap at Point Lobos.

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Tsunami Debris in California



The NOAA Marine Debris Program offers several nationwide, competitive funding opportunities for marine debris projects. These include: marine debris removal grants; prevention through education and outreach grants; and research grants. Learn more about these opportunities.