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Publications

NEW: 2021-2025 Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan

This updated Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan (VMDRP) for 2021-2025 is a roadmap, planning and monitoring tool, and a common framework for collaboration that will lead us to cleaner and healthier coastal waters and oceans.

Plastic pollution and marine debris are of local, regional, national, and global concern, so the Virginia Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Program took a leadership role in creating the first VMDRP in 2014–making Virginia the first state on the east coast to have a Plan in place to reduce marine debris and only the second in the US. Now, this updated Plan further strategically addresses this problem through policies, laws, research, behavior-change, and action on all levels. It establishes a comprehensive framework for strategic action and identifies priorities to reduce the impacts of marine debris on Virginia’s coasts, people, and wildlife.

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Download the 2021-2025 Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan . November 2021. Free,

 

 

NEW REPORT. Balloons and Plastic Ribbons: Deadly Litter on Virginia's Remote Beaches

Latex balloons, foil balloons and plastic ribbons are deadly forms of litter, and they are a top source of debris found on Virginia’s remote beaches according to this new report by Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University. Litter was surveyed on Virginia’s barrier islands, Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and other beaches between 2013 and 2020 revealing that balloon-related litter items are often the #1 most frequently found type of debris.

Research cited in the report was done in conjunction with behavior research and a social marketing campaign in Virginia to understand and reduce the intentional releases of balloons during memorial and celebratory events. The campaign was created by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program, Clean Virginia Waterways, NOAA Coastal Management, and NOAA Marine Debris Program. This campaign has inspired an expanded campaign effort in the Mid-Atlantic also referenced in the report.

January 2021. Free download.

     
 

REPORT: Littered Bottles & Cans: Higher in Virginia Than in States with Bottle Bills.

Plastic bottles, glass bottles, and aluminum cans are approximately two and half times more frequently littered in Virginia (a state without a bottle bill) than in states with bottle bills according to this new report by Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University. We compared litter data from states with bottle bills to states without bottle bills. In Virginia, bottles and cans accounted for nearly 22 percent of all litter recorded by volunteers in 2019. But in states with container deposit bills, bottles and cans accounted for less than 9 percent, on average, of the total debris recorded during the 2019 International Coastal Cleanup.

November 2020. Free download

     
 

Monitoring Marine Debris in Virginia's Coastal Zone.
Project Report: April 2014 through June 2018

Researchers from the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center teamed up with Clean Virginia Waterways to conduct monthly monitoring of marine debris on four coastal beaches in Virginia in 2014-2018. This report documents the 15,276 pieces of debris that were found--the vast majority of which (83.0%) were made of plastic.

This project was funded by the VA Coastal Zone Management Program at the VA Department of Environmental Quality through two grants which were funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. A report from the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center to the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program by Katie Register, Christina Trapani and Mark Swingle.

April 2019. Free Download.

     

The following two reports summarize an extensive, long-term research project focused on balloon-related litter, its impacts and solutions:

Balloon Litter on Virginia's Remote Beaches

2018. More than 11,400 balloons, balloon pieces and attachments were found on Virginia’s most remote beaches by Clean VA Waterways' researchers as part of a five-year study of balloon litter in coastal environments of Virginia. Balloon litter was the #1 most frequently found type of marine debris on these beaches.

A report from Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University to the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program by Christina Trapani, Kathy O'Hara and Katie Register.

 

Balloon Release Research in Virginia - 2017 report

Balloon Release Research in Virginia & Reducing Balloon Debris through Community-Based Social Marketing.

2017. Summarizes 3 years of research on WHO plans balloon releases, WHY they do it, and ALTERNATIVES that are litter-free. Final report to the NOAA Marine Debris Program from the VA Coastal Zone Management Program and Clean Virginia Waterways. 117 pages.

A report from the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program and Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University to NOAA Marine Debris Program by Virginia Witmer, Katie Register and Laura McKay.



Balloon Monitoring Protocol

Balloon Litter Monitoring and Assessment for the Coastal Environment: A Protocol. July 2018. This detailed protocol outlines how to collect data about balloon litter on beaches.

A report from Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University to the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program by Kathy O'Hara, Christina Trapani and Katie Register.

 

Beachy Clean: 2017 Progress Report. December 2017. This is a summary of the Beachy Clean community education campaign that targets beach visitors with litter-prevention messages. 23 pages.

A report from Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University to Keep America Beautiful by Katie Register and Christina Trapani.

     

Reaching Beach Visitors: A Unique Cigarette Litter Prevention Program. May 2017. Clean Virginia Waterways developed a cigarette litter prevention campaign that focused on beach visitors. This report covers our work and our findings.

A report from Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University to Keep America Beautiful by Katie Register and Christina Trapani.

 

Monitoring Marine Debris in Virginia's Coastal Zone: Project Report. 2016. For 30 months, the Virginia Aquarium & CVW monitored four coastal beaches. This report shows the data collected, including the fact that more that 80% of debris items were made of plastic.

A report from the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center to the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program by Katie Register, Christina Trapani and Mark Swingle.

 

     

Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan: Summary and Look Forward. 2016. This is a summary of the key goals of the Virginia Marine Debris Reduction Plan. 20 pages.

 

 

2nd Virginia Marine Debris Summit: Report. 2016. This document captures the ideas and highlights of the 2nd Virginia Marine Debris Summit. 155 pages.

Virginia Marine Debris Emergency Response Guide. 2017. Occasionally, large amounts of debris enter nearshore coastal waterways during natural disasters. This debris can be a hazard to navigation, damage habitat, and pose pollution threats. Download this Guide from NOAA to learn more.

 

Developing a Marine Debris Reduction Plan for Virginia. 2014. This document explains the steps that the VA Marine Debris Leadership Team took (research, surveys, interviews, setting priorities, etc.) as it developed this statewide plan. Virginia is the first state on the East Coast with a plan in place. 112 pages.

 

 

 

 

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