Marine Debris Foundation

Trash scattered on sand and among shrubs at the back barrier of a beach.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program is pleased to announce the inaugural Board of Directors of the new Marine Debris Foundation. This distinguished group will help the Foundation to begin operations and start augmenting federal efforts to address marine debris. 

Marine debris is one of the most widespread pollution problems facing our waterways, Great Lakes, and ocean. Huge amounts of plastics, metals, rubber, paper, textiles, derelict fishing gear, derelict vessels, and other lost or discarded items enter the marine environment every day. In order to help solve this problem, the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act of 2020 established the Marine Debris Foundation and directed the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere to appoint the Foundation’s inaugural governing Board of Directors (Board). 

The Foundation will also assist State, local, and Tribal governments, foreign governments, organizations, and individuals in mitigating the problem of marine debris and support other Federal actions to reduce marine debris. 

The following individuals have been appointed to serve on the Board of Directors (in alphabetical order after Chair of the Board):

  • Ginny L. Eckert, Chair of the Board, Ph.D., Director, Alaska Sea Grant and Professor, College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Melvin Álvarez, Grant Program Associate, 11th Hour Racing/The Schmidt Family Foundation
  • Scott A. Cassel, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Product Stewardship Institute
  • Katie A. Conlon, Ph.D., National Geographic Explorer
  • Julianne J. Curry, Public Affairs Manager, Icicle Seafoods and commercial fisherman
  • Jenna R. Jambeck, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor in Environmental Engineering, University of Georgia
  • Sherry M. Lippiatt, Ph.D., Risk and Finance Communications Specialist, Scoot Science
  • Nicholas J. Mallos, Senior Director, Trash Free Seas Program, Ocean Conservancy
  • Erica L. Nuñez, Program Officer, The Ocean Foundation
  • Neil V. Tangri, Ph.D., Science and Policy Director, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
  • Carrie A. Thompson, Senior Foreign Service Officer (ret) and former Acting Assistant Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development
  • Miki K. Tomita, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, Education Incubator

About the Marine Debris Foundation:

The Marine Debris Foundation was established on December 18, 2020 with the passage of the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act of 2020 (P.L. 116-224) as a charitable nonprofit organization to augment and support efforts of NOAA and other entities to address marine debris. The purposes of the Foundation include conducting activities that will augment NOAA’s efforts to address marine debris and performing other functions related to marine debris. For more information, please visit the Marine Debris Foundation website.