Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve Marine Debris Clean-up and Reduction Program

Trash boom in the Tijuana River
Group of people cheering on top of a pile of tires.
Volunteers celebrate after a cleanup during Tijuana River Action Month. (Photo Credit: TRNERR)

The Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association is expanding on previous efforts to address trash and marine debris in the Tijuana River Valley by improving trash capture and removal, and implementing novel outreach and prevention programs in Mexico.

Type: Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant

Region: California

Project Dates: August 2018 – July 2020

Who is involved? 
With funding from a NOAA Marine Debris Program Community-based Marine Debris Removal Grant, the Southwest Wetlands Interpretive Association (SWIA) is working with staff from the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve (TRNERR) and California State Parks to address debris in the Tijuana River Valley.

What is the project and why is it important?
Trash, plastics, and larger debris that wash downstream from Mexico threaten and degrade the Tijuana River Valley’s valuable ecological, cultural, recreational, and economic resources. Huge amounts of debris can settle in the Goat Canyon sediment basin, some of which accumulates behind large trash booms that were upgraded for greater strength and stability under previous funding from the NOAA Marine Debris Program. Beyond being just an eyesore and stressor on the natural environment, trash has become recognized as a public health and safety concern, as large items can clog channels and cause extreme flooding on both sides of the border during storm events.

This project builds off the accomplishments and lessons learned from NOAA Community-Based Marine Debris Removal Grants awarded to SWIA in 2014 and 2016. Project partners will capture marine debris that enters the Tijuana River Valley through the existing infrastructure located in the Goat Canyon Sediment Basin and community-based cleanup efforts during the 2018 and 2019 Tijuana River Action Month. Compared to previous years, this project has a greater focus on tracking the types and quantities of debris captured by the sediment basin, to inform upstream prevention. Building on previous years’ prevention efforts and partnership building in Mexico, project staff will develop and deliver a new training module on marine debris reduction as part of existing hazard reduction training in Tijuana.

 

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Group of people cheering on top of a pile of tires.
Volunteers celebrate after a cleanup during Tijuana River Action Month. (Photo Credit: TRNERR)