Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan for 2021-2025

The Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan (first published in 2014) was updated for 2021-2015.

Download the 2021-2025 Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan HERE


The Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program has released an updated plan with strategic, definitive actions to reduce debris in Virginia’s coastal waterways and the Atlantic Ocean.

This plan is a roadmap for working together on sustained approaches to reduce the flow of plastic and other litter into Virginia’s coastal waters

The 2021-2025 Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan, funded through grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), focuses on consumer debris, fishing gear, microplastics, and abandoned boats. Additional assistance was provided by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

The Virginia CZM Program, a network of state agencies and coastal localities led by the Department of Environmental Quality, worked closely with Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University to gather input from researchers, litter prevention experts, local and state governments, nonprofit organizations, businesses, and other stakeholders as it updated the plan.


  Download the
"Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan: Summary & Look Ahead."
March 2016. 20 pages. 17+ MB.


Download the full document:
"Developing a Marine Debris Reduction Plan for Virginia"
October 2014. 57 pages; 2 MB

Appendices, October 2014. 53 pages; 2 MB

Bay Journal article discussing the Plan


If you require higher resolution versions, please contact Katie Register at 434-395-2602

Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan (2014)
For decades, Virginians have worked to decrease litter and marine debris through prevention (behavioral changes, increased recycling, and promotion of the correct disposal of solid waste) as well as removal of litter through cleanup efforts. Local coordinators, government agencies, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, and associations working on these issues provide Virginia with a strong network. In 2014, Virginia developed a plan to better coordinate these efforts. The plan charts a course for Virginia to reduce the amount of trash and marine debris from land-based and water-based sources in Virginia through prevention, interception, innovation, and removal for ecological, social, and economic benefits.

The plan identifies actions Virginia may undertake to measurably reduce marine debris in Mid-Atlantic coastal waters, with a focus on specific actions that are politically, socially and economically feasible for Virginia to accomplish.

The Need for a Plan:
The Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan was developed as part of the Virginia Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program's Ocean Resources Management Strategy. The strategy called for an analysis of key marine debris issues, prioritization of these issues, and development of a plan to address the high priority issues. Under a grant from the Virginia CZM Program, the Plan was developed by Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University working with many partners.

Who Worked on the Plan:
The Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan was developed through a Virginia CZM grant to Clean Virginia Waterways at Longwood University (CVW). CVW worked with a team of partners and a Leadership Team to gather input from stakeholders and develop the plan.

An amazing amount of work has been done in Virginia from 2014 to 2020 to combat the sources of marine debris. This recording of the Feb 23, 2021 VMDRP Leadership Team Meeting includes a summary of many of the programs, campaigns, and other accomplishments,

Virginia Marine Debris Summits
In February 2013, the Virginia CZM Program partnered with the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center to host the First Virginia Marine Debris Summit, the first step towards formulation of a Virginia Marine Reduction Management Plan. The Second Virginia Marine Debris Summit was held in 2016 at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, and engaged professionals from federal, state and local governments, nonprofits, community groups, industry, and academia who work to prevent and mitigate the litter and waste that degrades our coastal and ocean waters. Reflecting the growing regional effort to address marine debris, the 2019 summit was renamed: Mid-Atlantic Marine Debris Summit, which was co-sponsored by George Mason University and Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University.

Our partners at MARCO also hosted a Mid-Atlantic Marine Debris Summit in July 2021.

Upcoming Summits:
Virginia Marine Debris Summit. Fall 2022. Likely to be IN PERSON!

Other Marine Debris Research & Reports
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Marine Debris web site