This unique public-private partnership turns derelict fishing nets in Hawai'i into usable electricity.
The Marine Debris Program supports projects across the country that use outreach and education as a way to prevent marine debris. These projects aim to change behavior, especially among youth, and provide them with hands-on experiences that deepen their understanding of the marine debris problem.
A partnership to prevent and reduce the impacts of derelict fishing gear in the marine environment.
Resources - Links
Active Prevention Projects
The Texas Sea Grant College Program at Texas A&M University will work with the coastal Texas recreational fishing industry to reduce barriers to preventing marine debris including monofilament fishing line and single-use plastic items.
The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies is working with students and the public to identify and reduce single-use plastics while evaluating and encouraging the use of bio-based packaging alternatives.
Clean Water Fund is expanding the California-based ReThink Disposable program to seven states on the East Coast and Great Lakes to provide assistance in converting operations from single-use food and beverage packaging to reusable foodware.
One Cool Earth is leading an alliance of partners across the Central Coast of California to incorporate marine debris reduction activities in schools and empower youth to change their waste disposal behaviors.
The Vermilion Sea Institute is expanding the work and research of local youth in the Aventureros educational program to support the Bahía de los Ángeles community in Baja California, Mexico in reducing single-use plastics and waste.
Parley Foundation is implementing a marine debris prevention initiative focused on the impacts of derelict fishing gear and single-use plastics in Hawai‘i.
The Ocean Conservancy and their partners will engage local Miami-Dade County youth and businesses through their Plastic Free Cities campaign to reduce single-use plastics.
Students and teachers at Simon A. Sanchez High School and John F. Kennedy High School in Guam are implementing Ocean Guardian School projects that prevent marine debris and encourage students to lead environmental stewardship in their communities.
The University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute is working with partners in Mexico to expand their Nurdle Patrol monitoring project while increasing collaboration among scientists, resource managers, and industry representatives in the Gulf of Mexico.
Partners across the Gulf of Maine are working together to prevent and remove marine debris by engaging volunteers, local businesses, coastal communities, fishing industries, and environmental justice populations in learning about the impact of marine debris on natural resources and taking action to make a difference.
The University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant College Program (Hawai‘i Sea Grant) is collaborating with Hawai‘i Marine Animal Response to support the growth of their marine debris removal and education efforts.
Puerto Rico Sea Grant will develop a bilingual marine debris curriculum to educate students in grades 4-12 about the sources and impacts of marine debris and to promote behavior change through hands-on activities involving teachers, students, and their families.
WILDCOAST is reducing ocean-bound single-use plastic waste and other debris by capturing trash in the Tijuana River and through a city-wide campaign to raise awareness, advance policy, and help the region transition away from single-use plastics.
In the Tijuana River Valley, the Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association and Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve are repurposing and upcycling debris items to prevent and remove marine debris from the Tijuana River watershed and Pacific Ocean.
Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, with help from an advisory team, is developing a regional prevention and messaging campaign that addresses a plastic debris item of concern in the region.
Wisconsin Sea Grant is using the power of storytelling and performance to engage, educate, and inspire performing artists, students, and community members to be committed stewards of Lake Michigan.
The Council of the Great Lakes Region is working to prevent and reduce plastic debris by expanding the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup program and launching a new binational Great Lakes Circular Economy Partnership to help the Great Lakes create a circular economy.
The North Slope Borough will work with eight local communities to educate students and residents about marine debris and single-use plastics by encouraging the use of alternatives and supporting community-led beach cleanups.
The Aleut Community of St. Paul Island is working to transform attitudes and behaviors around the use and disposal of plastic packing bands on St. Paul Island and within the commercial fishing and packaging industries in the Bering Sea region.
Arizona State University is engaging American Samoa Community College students in the identification and selection of alternatives to single-use plastic food containers in collaboration with the community and businesses of Nu’uuli and Pago Pago.
Through the Full Cycle Reusable Takeout Container Program, Zero Waste O‘ahu is using a hands-on approach to reduce marine debris by minimizing the use of single-use plastic takeout containers.
Zero Waste Washington is working with student groups to conduct community-based education and engagement around litter that impacts the Duwamish River and nearby Puget Sound.
George Mason University and community partners will lead a project to inspire a reduction in single-use plastic water bottle use behavior of students at two high schools in Prince William County, Virginia.
Mobile Baykeeper is unifying 178 businesses in Mobile, Alabama behind a single campaign to reduce the use of single-use plastics while encouraging consumers to eat, stay, and shop at local businesses.
One Cool Earth’s Earth Genius Program is working with public school administrators, teachers, and students to implement a marine debris education program in San Luis Obispo schools.
Eckerd College and the University of North Florida will foster long-term behavior change among undergraduate students to reduce single-use plastic consumption.
Shedd Aquarium will work with restaurants and the food service industry to make a measurable reduction in single-use plastics in Chicago communities.
The Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan and Northeast Michigan Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative are leading "Food for Thought," a project engaging 500 youth in grades 3-12 in Northeast Michigan to reduce waste produced in school lunchrooms.
The Coastal States Stewardship Foundation, on behalf of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean, will reduce the intentional release of balloons at celebratory, memorial and other events through the implementation of the Joyful Send-off community based social marketing campaign.
The Alice Ferguson Foundation is expanding its current marine debris focused education programming to engage secondary students in Prince George’s County, Maryland around the issue of marine debris and litter prevention in their schools and communities.
The University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) MarineQuest is educating students on ways they can prevent and reduce marine debris through hands-on lessons focused on sea turtles.
Hawaii State Parks will be installing 19 water bottle filling stations. Coupled with outreach efforts and volunteer opportunities, this project aims to change park visitors’ behaviors and prevent water bottles from potentially becoming marine debris.
This project is developing marine debris messaging and outreach activities targeted to tourists visiting South Bass Island, Ohio.
Completed Prevention Projects - Archives
Click the bars below to view completed projects from that year.
Salem Sound Coastwatch is working with high school interns to develop effective community-based social marketing messages and launch a “CoastSmart” restaurant campaign to reduce the use of single-use plastics.
The Rhode Island Marine Trades Association Foundation is working to expand a successful vessel recycling program in Rhode Island to Washington, New England, and other interested locations.
This project turned six years of marine debris shoreline monitoring data by Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary into action by implementing a behavior change campaign for waterfowl hunters in the greater San Francisco Bay Area to help reduce the amount of shotgun wads entering waterways.
California Sea Grant improved the understanding of urban neighborhood trash sources and provided experiential learning opportunities to middle school students in an underserved San Diego community.
Led by the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies, schools and businesses across the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska initiated zero waste and green initiatives, coupled with marine debris education.
Surfrider Foundation San Francisco addressed the critical problem of cigarette butt litter entering the San Francisco Bay, nearby National Parks, and National Marine Sanctuaries through their “Hold on to Your Butt” program.
Plastic Free Gulf Coast is focused on reducing the use of single-use plastics, polystyrene, and plastic-lined food/beverage containers within the five gulf states through outreach, education, and providing single-use plastic alternatives to restaurants and consumers.
Eckerd College will strive to reduce consumption of single-use plastics across campus by educating students on marine debris, providing access to alternatives to common debris items, and working with the college administration to institute campus-wide prevention and reduction initiatives.
Surfrider Foundation and its partners are working with the public, school students, businesses, and the Oregon State legislature to reduce consumption of single-use plastic in Oregon.
Researchers at Keene State College and the University of New Haven are using multimedia text messaging to deliver persuasive, positive, humorous messages focused on proper cigarette butt disposal to college students living near National Estuary Programs across the US.
Stewards Targeting Ocean Problems (S.T.O.P): Zero Waste and Awareness Campaign on the Kenai Peninsula and Anchorage, Alaska
The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies worked to build awareness of marine debris through field experiences and zero waste campaigns at local schools and businesses.
The University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant worked with teachers from Glynn Middle School in Brunswick, GA, which engaged middle school students in finding ways to reduce and prevent marine debris.
Sea Education Association worked to reduce the use of single-use plastic items which engaged students in lessons on marine debris, social science research, and the creation of a local campaign to educate the community and promote behavior change.
Hudson River Community Sailing empowered NYC high school students in their Sail Academy afterschool program to become stewards of the Hudson Estuary through marine debris collection, prevention, and outreach.
Pride in Our Seas, Pride in Ourselves: Preventing Land-Based Sources of Marine Debris in the U.S. Virgin Islands
The University of the Virgin Islands worked to reduce land-based sources of marine debris in the U.S. Virgin Islands through a targeted ridge-to-reef and watershed educational and outreach program.
One Cool Earth partnered with 17 schools in Paso Robles and Atascadero, California, to implement school litter and waste reduction programs.
The School District of the City of Erie lead a district-wide education and outreach effort with students, teachers, and the community that reduced land-based marine debris by combining curriculum with stewardship.
Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs implemented a new Marine Debris Creative Advocacy Competition which challenged teens to design and implement a project that reduces or prevents marine debris.
Trash Free Maryland launched a multi-year social marketing campaign to reduce land-based litter in Baltimore City.
Pacific Whale Foundation launched a public awareness campaign to inform, educate, and involve the public in marine debris awareness and policy focused on tobacco-free beaches in Maui, Hawaii.
Ship Island Excursions worked to provide marine debris education and outreach to coastal Mississippi students as well as passengers on the Ship Island ferry.
Sea Turtle, Inc. raised awareness of the effects of marine debris on endangered sea turtles in the lower Laguna Madre and Gulf of Mexico by creating permanent, bilingual marine debris education displays and engaging the community in cleanups.
The National Sea Grant Law Center at the University of Mississippi worked to assess the transferability of innovative methods for addressing derelict fishing gear and to identify opportunities to prevent gear loss due to vessel interactions.
The BoatU.S. Foundation prevented derelict fishing gear by educating recreational boaters about strategies to reduce vessel interactions with active fishing gear.
Through the Fishing for Energy program, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries used side-scan sonar to address challenges associated with identifying derelict lobster pots.
Through the Fishing for Energy program, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries worked to develop a series of videos to educate recreational pot fishers about practices that can help prevent gear loss.
The Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation worked to implement a multifaceted STEM education program focusing on ocean literacy and marine debris in the Gulf of Maine.
The University of Hartford worked to develop an open source, replicable, college-level service learning course to improve knowledge, lead outreach, inform policy, and inspire change on the issue of marine debris.
The Northwest Straits Foundation worked to prevent derelict fishing gear in the Puget Sound through education and outreach to tribal, commercial, and recreational fishermen and crabbers.
The Mālama Learning Center tackled marine debris through community outreach in Leeward (West) Oahu.
EarthTeam educated and trained high school students to lead “Zero Litter Campaigns” in their schools and communities, aimed to prevent land-based litter from becoming marine debris.
Clean Water Fund educated the take-out food industry and its customers about the marine debris prevention benefits and cost savings associated with reducing food and beverage packaging.
The University of North Carolina Wilmington educated elementary and middle school students about marine debris through hands-on lessons in an inflatable whale classroom.
Florida Sea Grant created a network of citizen scientists across Florida to study microplastics and lead education and outreach events.
Educating Recreational Boaters and Improving Crab Trap Float Riggings to Reduce Derelict Fishing Gear
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, the NOAA Marine Debris Program, and the Fishing for Energy partners teamed up to prevent derelict crab trap generation due to recreational boat strikes.
Nature’s Academy engaged fifth grade students in Manatee County, Florida in a hands-on educational program that increased knowledge and fostered behavior change to prevent marine debris.
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley started an innovative education and outreach program to prevent marine debris from entering the South Texas coastal zone and the Gulf of Mexico.
The City of Cleveland and the NOAA Marine Debris Program identified barriers to the reduction and proper disposal of plastic grocery bags, water bottles, and cigar tips— three common types of marine debris found on Cleveland area beaches.
Rutgers University and the NOAA Marine Debris Program partnered for the WeCrab project to educate and train recreational crabbers, teachers, students, and coastal users to prevent derelict fishing gear and other debris in New Jersey.
The National Aquarium partnered with the NOAA Marine Debris Program to create a network of community leaders to initiate and lead marine debris prevention efforts and clean up debris near Baltimore.
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant educated fishers about ghost nets in Lake Superior.
The Washed Ashore Project partnered with NOAA Marine Debris Program to bring new art and science curriculum to students and teachers.
The Salem Sound Coastwatch partnered with the NOAA Marine Debris Program to focus on urban neighborhoods in Salem, Massachusetts to raise awareness and change local trash disposal behaviors.
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History educated students on how they can prevent trash from reaching the ocean.
Alice Ferguson Foundation educated teenage litterers in the Potomac River watershed.
Feiro Marine Life Center educated students and residents from Washington’s Olympic Peninsula about marine debris impacts.
Virginia DEQ used social marketing to mitigate the impacts of balloon marine debris.
Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund engaged the keiki (children) of Hawai‘i to learn about marine debris impacts and forge creative solutions.
Protectores de Cuencas launched Think Before You Drop It, a social marketing campaign to reduce litter on beaches in Puerto Rico.
University of South Florida engaged local youth and tourists by targeting shoreline and beach litter in Florida.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the NOAA Marine Debris Program partnered to use data to inform fishing choices.
Ocean Conservancy instilled an environmental ethic in youth and corporate employees in an effort to end marine debris.
Mystic Aquarium and the NOAA Marine Debris Program worked with teens to educate and inspire their peers.
University of Georgia Marine Extension Service partnered with the NOAA Marine Debris Program to use student marine debris surveys to encourage environmental stewardship.
Monterey Bay Aquarium worked with California teachers to add marine debris lessons to their classrooms.
NOAA and Oregon State University engaged students on marine debris using an integrated curriculum.
Anchorage Museum educated the public with a marine debris exhibit called GYRE: The Plastic Ocean.
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, D.C. is home to Wendy and Tinkerbell, two brown pelicans found entangled in fishing line in Florida.