In the United States, marine debris is defined as “any persistent solid material that is manufactured or processed and directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally, disposed of or abandoned into the marine environment or the Great Lakes.” Oregon State law defines marine debris similarly. Marine debris is a growing global problem that harms the environment and commerce, and threatens navigation safety and human health.


Representatives from Oregon contributed to the West Coast Governors Alliance West Coast Marine Debris Strategy, which highlighted marine debris priorities and outlined an array of actions. Since 2012, the influx of Japan tsunami marine debris (JTMD) has brought together state partners to collaborate on the response to marine debris created by this tragic event, and created additional momentum to address marine debris in Oregon.

In April 2016, the Oregon Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) identified marine debris as a high priority for the state. Many entities working on marine debris in Oregon have agreed to coordinate and create the Oregon Marine Debris Action Plan (OR MDAP), a work plan to facilitate collaborative and effective marine debris prevention and reduction efforts in Oregon. The NOAA Marine Debris Program (MDP) has prioritized supporting and facilitating the creation of marine debris action plans around the U.S., and is committed to supporting the OR MDAP for years to come. The OR MDAP focuses on marine debris activities taken under normal conditions. Large-scale debris removal operations associated with major disasters are covered under the State of Oregon Debris Management Plan, and the State of Oregon Japan Tsunami Marine Debris Plan.

The Oregon Marine Debris Action Plan is a compilation of recommended strategies and actions to prevent, research, and remove marine debris in Oregon. It is a collaborative effort of federal and state agencies, tribes, local governments, non-governmental organizations, academia, and industry. Bringing together the Oregon entities working on marine debris, the Plan aims to increase coordination and collaboration in executing on-going and future actions, and to help track progress over time. 

Follow the links below for plans and resources related to addressing marine debris on the Oregon coast.


Marine Debris Data

The West Coast Ocean Data Portal contains visualizations and data sets associated with marine debris.

Launch the Viewer

View the data sets here.


Marine Debris Plans

The Oregon Marine Debris Action Plan (PDF), 2017.

The West Coast Governors Alliance on Ocean Health West Coast Marine Debris Strategy (PDF), 2013.

NOAA developed a Japanese Tsunami Debris Report (PDF) in 2013.

The State of Oregon Japanese Tsunami Debris Plan (PDF),  2012.


Marine Debris Program Links

NOAA Marine Debris Program website:

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department maintains a marine debris website at

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife maintains a Japanese Tsunami Debris website at

The Oregon Sea Grant webpage dedicated to Japanese Tsunami Debris may be found at