Marine Debris Prevention and Removal Program Law and Legal Definition

The Marine Debris Prevention and Removal Program is a program within the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This program aims to coordinate, strengthen, and increase the visibility of marine debris issues and efforts within the agency, its partners, and the public. The Marine Debris Program was launched pursuant to the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act.

The program supports national and international effort focused on preventing, identifying, and reducing the occurrence of marine debris. The program also aims to protect and conserve U.S.’s natural resources, oceans, and coastal waterways from the impacts of marine debris.

This program provides grants/funds for locally-driven, community-based marine debris prevention and removal projects

The following is an example of a federal statute on the Marine Debris Prevention and Removal Program:

33 USCS § 1952. NOAA Marine Debris Prevention and Removal Program

(a) Establishment of Program. There is established, within the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a Marine Debris Prevention and Removal Program to reduce and prevent the occurrence and adverse impacts of marine debris on the marine environment and navigation safety.

(b) Program components. The Administrator, acting through the Program and subject to the availability of appropriations, shall carry out the following activities:

(1) Mapping, identification, impact assessment, removal, and prevention. The Administrator shall, in consultation with relevant Federal agencies, undertake marine debris mapping, identification, impact assessment, prevention, and removal efforts, with a focus on marine debris posing a threat to living marine resources and navigation safety, including:

(A) the establishment of a process, building on existing information sources maintained by Federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Coast Guard, for cataloguing and maintaining an inventory of marine debris and its impacts found in the navigable waters of the United States and the United States exclusive economic zone, including location, material, size, age, and origin, and impacts on habitat, living marine resources, human health, and navigation safety;

(B) measures to identify the origin, location, and projected movement of marine debris within United States navigable waters, the United States exclusive economic zone, and the high seas, including the use of oceanographic, atmospheric, satellite, and remote sensing data; and

(C) development and implementation of strategies, methods, priorities, and a plan for preventing and removing marine debris from United States navigable waters and within the United States exclusive economic zone, including development of local or regional protocols for removal of derelict fishing gear and other marine debris.

(2) Reducing and preventing loss of gear. The Administrator shall improve efforts to reduce adverse impacts of lost and discarded fishing gear on living marine resources and navigation safety, including--

(A) research and development of alternatives to gear posing threats to the marine environment, and methods for marking gear used in specific fisheries to enhance the tracking, recovery, and identification of lost and discarded gear; and

(B) development of effective nonregulatory measures and incentives to cooperatively reduce the volume of lost and discarded fishing gear and to aid in its recovery.

(3) Outreach. The Administrator shall undertake outreach and education of the public and other stakeholders, such as the fishing industry, fishing gear manufacturers, and other marine-dependent industries, and the plastic and waste management industries, on sources of marine debris, threats associated with marine debris and approaches to identify, determine sources of, assess, reduce, and prevent marine debris and its adverse impacts on the marine environment and navigational safety, including outreach and education activities through public-private initiatives. The Administrator shall coordinate outreach and education activities under this paragraph with any outreach programs conducted under section 2204 of the Marine Plastic Pollution Research and Control Act of 1987 (33 U.S.C. 1915).

(c) Grants, cooperative agreements, and contracts.

(1) In general. The Administrator, acting through the Program, shall enter into cooperative agreements and contracts and provide financial assistance in the form of grants for projects to accomplish the purpose set forth in section 2(1) [33 USCS § 1951(1)].

(2) Grant cost sharing requirement.

(A) In general. Except as provided in subparagraph (B), Federal funds for any grant under this section may not exceed 50 percent of the total cost of such project. For purposes of this subparagraph, the non-Federal share of project costs may be provided by in-kind contributions and other noncash support.

(B) Waiver. The Administrator may waive all or part of the matching requirement under subparagraph (A) if the Administrator determines that no reasonable means are available through which applicants can meet the matching requirement and the probable benefit of such project outweighs the public interest in such matching requirement.

(3) Amounts paid and services rendered under consent.

(A) Consent decrees and orders. If authorized by the Administrator or the Attorney General, as appropriate, the non-Federal share of the cost of a project carried out under this Act [33 USCS §§ 1951 et seq.] may include money paid pursuant to, or the value of any in-kind service performed under, an administrative order on consent or judicial consent decree that will remove or prevent marine debris.

(B) Other decrees and orders. The non-Federal share of the cost of a project carried out under this Act [33 USCS §§ 1951 et seq.] may not include any money paid pursuant to, or the value of any in-kind service performed under, any other administrative order or court order.

(4) Eligibility. Any State, local, or tribal government whose activities affect research or regulation of marine debris, and any institution of higher education, nonprofit organization, or commercial organization with expertise in a field related to marine debris, is eligible to submit to the Administrator a marine debris proposal under the grant program.

(5) Grant criteria and guidelines. Within 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act [33 USCS §§ 1951 et seq.], the Administrator shall promulgate necessary guidelines for implementation of the grant program, including development of criteria and priorities for grants. In developing those guidelines, the Administrator shall consult with--

(A) the Interagency Committee;

(B) regional fishery management councils established under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.);

(C) State, regional, and local governmental entities with marine debris experience;

(D) marine-dependent industries; and

(E) nongovernmental organizations involved in marine debris research, prevention, or removal activities.

(6) Project review and approval. The Administrator shall--

(A) review each marine debris project proposal to determine if it meets the grant criteria and supports the goals of this Act [33 USCS §§ 1951 et seq.];

(B) after considering any written comments and recommendations based on the review, approve or disapprove the proposal; and

(C) provide notification of that approval or disapproval to the person who submitted the proposal.

(7) Project reporting. Each grantee under this section shall provide periodic reports as required by the Administrator. Each report shall include all information required by the Administrator for evaluating the progress and success in meeting its stated goals, and impact of the grant activities on the marine debris problem.