Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee
The Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee (IMDCC) is a multi-agency body responsible for coordinating a comprehensive program of marine debris research and activities among federal agencies, in cooperation and coordination with non-governmental organizations, industry, academia, states, tribes, and other nations, as appropriate. Representatives meet to share information, assess and promote best management practices, and coordinate the Federal Government’s efforts to address marine debris.
The IMDCC was established in 2006 by the Marine Debris Act. The committee submits biennial reports to Congress with updates on activities, achievements, and recommendations. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration serves as the Chairperson of the Committee.
Member Agencies of the IMDCC
United States Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
The mission of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, to share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources. In 2006, Congress authorized the NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) as the U.S. Federal government’s lead for addressing marine debris. The MDP achieves its mission through six main pillars: Prevention, Removal, Research, Monitoring and Detection, Response, and Coordination. The NOAA MDP chairs the Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee and serves as Executive Secretariat.
United States Environmental Protection Agency
The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to protect human health and the environment. In 2013, EPA created the Trash Free Waters program, a non-regulatory program that works through robust partnerships to reduce the volume of trash entering the nation’s waterways. The program works closely with other offices within EPA to help affect positive change with respect to reducing the amount of trash entering the environment. These offices include the Office of International and Tribal Affairs, which leads EPA’s international engagement on marine litter policy; the Office of Land and Emergency Management, which covers solid waste management, recycling, resource efficiency and sustainable materials management; and the Office of Research and Development, which conducts and supports macro- and microplastics and other related research.
United States Coast Guard
The United States Coast Guard’s mission is to ensure our Nation's maritime safety, security and stewardship. Marine debris can be a threat to navigable waterways, the environment, and marine resources. The Coast Guard works with port facilities, the maritime industry, and the international community to prevent the introduction of marine debris into inland and coastal waterways, and the high seas. In response to natural disasters, the Coast Guard works with Federal and State authorities to ensure that our ports and waterways remain navigable, secure and ready for operation. The Coast Guard exercises a wide array of domestic and international authorities through centralized headquarters offices in Washington DC, down to operational facilities and vessels throughout the world.
United States Navy
The mission of the Navy is to be ready to conduct prompt and sustained combat incident to operations at sea, to protect America from attack, and to preserve America’s strategic influence in key regions of the world. In 2006, Congress authorized the reestablishment of the Interagency Marine Debris Coordinating Committee (IMDCC) as the U.S. Federal government’s lead interagency committee for addressing marine debris issues. Navy is a statutorily listed member of the IMDCC, and is committed to environmental stewardship while successfully accomplishing its mission.
United States Department of State
The mission of the U.S. Department of State is to lead America’s foreign policy through diplomacy, advocacy, and assistance by advancing the interests of the American people, their safety, and economic prosperity. Among critical environmental issues, the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs (OES) leads and coordinates interagency efforts to address the global crisis of marine debris. OES works to reduce marine debris through international bilateral and multilateral engagements, such as leading the U.S. delegation to UNEP, APEC, and other multilateral organizations and by advocating for innovative solutions to address marine debris at its sources. OES also supports private-public collaboration, mobilizes millions of dollars to assist capacity building, including to promote environmentally sound waste management and spearheads programmatic efforts focused on supporting scientific research and promoting education and outreach.
United States Department of Interior
Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) works to promote safety, protect the environment, and conserve resources offshore through vigorous regulatory oversight and enforcement. The BSEE Marine Trash and Debris Prevention standards require private sector companies working in offshore oil and gas to conduct annual training and to follow best practices guidelines to limit the introduction of trash and debris into the marine environment. BSEE scientists and engineers review industry training certifications and conduct field inspections to ensure that all Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) workers have had proper marine trash and debris training and that OCS facilities are following proper marine trash and debris policies, including securing and labeling loose items and maintaining marine trash and debris placards. BSEE also performs Seafloor Compliance and Monitoring Program (SCAMP) site inspections of site-clearance areas in the Gulf of Mexico to ensure that operators do not leave any marine trash, debris, or abandoned equipment on the seafloor after decommissioning an OCS structure.
National Park Service
The National Park Service (NPS) mission is to preserve unimpaired the natural and cultural resources and values of the National Park System for the enjoyment, education, and inspiration of this and future generations. The NPS cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world. Marine debris that lands in our 88 ocean and coastal park units has many different origins, some comes from within a park, while some comes from very far away. The NPS actively works with local, state, and other federal partners on beach clean-ups and educational products and programs to help make visitors aware of environmental impacts of marine debris and how individual choices and actions can make a difference.
United States Fish and Wildlife Service
United States Agency for International Development
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) leads the U.S. Government's international development and disaster assistance efforts with the mission of promoting and demonstrating democratic values abroad, and advancing a free, peaceful, and prosperous world. The majority of marine debris--and, in particular, ocean plastic pollution--comes from rapidly growing cities in the developing world that lack effective waste management systems and infrastructure. Since 2016, USAID has worked to reduce the flow of mismanaged plastic waste entering the marine environment by supporting key countries in strengthening their solid waste management systems and promoting the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle). USAID focuses on working with local governments, communities, and the private sector to promote locally-led and locally-appropriate solutions to the challenge of marine debris.
Marine Mammal Commission
The Marine Mammal Commission provides independent, science-based oversight of and advice on the domestic and international policies and actions of federal agencies that have the potential to impact marine mammals and their ecosystems. We regularly consult with other federal agencies to understand, monitor, and mitigate risk factors affecting marine mammals, including the direct and indirect impacts of marine debris. The Commission has a long-standing commitment to supporting marine debris research and to the coordination of federal actions designed to mitigate the effects of marine debris on marine mammals. The Commission is an active member of the Interagency Marine Debris Coordination Committee.
National Science Foundation
The mission of the National Science Foundation (NSF) is “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense...” Issues affecting marine environments, including water pollution prevention and control, directly impact the national health, prosperity, and welfare. Accordingly, NSF supports basic research that develops fundamental knowledge and engineering advances pertaining to the fate of marine debris, the impact of marine debris on ecosystems, and water pollution mitigation and control systems, and remediation of polluted environments. NSF’s Engineering Directorate is home to several programs and solicited opportunities that support research in these areas, including the Environmental Engineering, Environmental Sustainability, and nanoscale Interactions programs, and the Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation program’s solicitation on Engineering the Elimination of End-of-Life Plastics. NSF’s Division of Ocean Sciences, within the Geosciences Directorate, provides funding for basic research in all areas of the Ocean Sciences, including many that have direct and indirect implications for marine debris such as using marine debris as tracers of ocean currents, chemical reactions elucidated by the breakdown of marine debris, preservation of marine debris within ocean sediment cores, and changing ecosystem relationships in impacted areas.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
The mission of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is to lead innovative and sustainable exploration to enable human expansion across the solar system and to develop a better understanding of our own Earth using unique global observations from space, air, sea, and land. This work includes advancing the detection of marine debris using remote sensing and understanding their corresponding impacts on aquatic ecosystems and the ocean’s biological and ecological processes. NASA Earth observations and science in the coastal marine environment increases situational awareness and understanding that guides actions to reduce risks including interference to navigational safety, to help mitigate causes of economic loss to fishing and maritime industries, to strengthen resilience due to degradation in the quality of life that may occur in coastal communities, and to support the surveillance needed to avoid threats to human health and safety. The Research and Analysis Program (R&A) within the NASA Earth Science Division (ESD) works to advance our scientific understanding of Earth as a system and its response to natural and human-induced changes and to improve our ability to predict climate, weather, and natural hazards. The Applied Sciences program, also within ESD, seeks to utilize the agency’s unique observations to enable informed decision-making for agriculture, water and food security, urban planning, disaster preparedness and response, transportation, climate and weather, and other applications that benefit life on Earth. NASA is an active member of the Interagency Marine Debris Coordination Committee.
United States Department of Justice
The mission of the Department of Justice is to to enforce the law and defend the interests of the United States according to the law; to ensure public safety against threats foreign and domestic; to provide federal leadership in preventing and controlling crime; to seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior; and to ensure fair and impartial administration of justice for all Americans. The Environment and Natural Resources Division (ENRD) is responsible for bringing cases against those who violate the nation’s environmental laws as well as defending the federal government in complex civil litigation arising under a broad range of environmental statutes.
United States Department of Energy
The IMDCC meets publicly at least twice a year.
No meetings are currently scheduled.