Marine Debris Emergency Response Guides

Damaged vessels in Alabama.

Marine debris ends up in the ocean every day as a result of littering and poor waste management, but occasionally, large amounts enter nearshore coastal waterways all at once, especially during natural disasters. Abandoned and derelict vessels, construction and demolition debris, and household hazardous waste are just a few of the types of marine debris we find in waterways after a disaster. This debris can be a hazard to navigation, damage habitat, and pose pollution threats. To mitigate these impacts, the NOAA Marine Debris Program is facilitating response planning efforts in coastal states. Through a highly collaborative process with local, state, and federal agencies, response guidance documents are being developed, aimed at improving preparedness and facilitating a coordinated, well-managed, and immediate response to acute waterway debris incidents. These efforts work to outline existing response structures at the local, state, and federal levels, capturing all relevant responsibilities and existing procedures into one guidance document for easy reference. The process first includes the development of the guidance document, followed by drills to test response effectiveness, and finally, supporting the integration of this information into other existing plans. Please reference the “Resources – Links” section to the upper right to access available response guides.