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The Oregon Marine Debris Team is seeking volunteer groups to participate in a community grants program which will support monitoring for marine debris. Up to 10 local groups (either existing organizations or teams that unite for this effort) will be awarded $500 to assist them in regularly monitoring and submitting reports on marine debris that washes up at selected sites.

Click here to download the application form

The project is part of an ongoing research program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Participating groups will employ a “protocol” developed by NOAA to gather data and the types and amounts of marine debris reaching the shore. Monitoring sites are 100 meters (about 325 feet) long, and are selected according to specific criteria. Surveys must be done regularly on a monthly basis. The information collected, using NOAA’s method, is then uploaded onto a website.

Specific sites should fall within areas chosen for the study. A map of the potential areas can be found at: OMDT Marine Debris Monitoring Areas 2013

Areas include:

  • Area 1- Columbia south jetty to Camp Rilea
  • Area 2- Arch Cape to Nehalem Spit
  • Area 3- Nestucca mouth to Salmon River Spit
  • Area 4- Government Point to Yaquina Head
  • Site 5- Muriel O. Ponsler*
  • Area 6-Siuslaw south jetty to Horsfall Beach
  • Area 7- Bastendorff Beach to Seven Devils Wayside 
  • Site 8- Port Orford*
  • Site 9- Gold Beach*
  • Area 10- Hooskenaden Creek to Rainbow Rock

*Community groups are already engaged in monitoring using the NOAA protocol at sites 5, 8 and 9.

Within each area, preference will be given to proposals for more remote areas with less human traffic and where it is less likely that litter will be picked up between monitoring sessions.

No prior experience is necessary. Training and support will be provided by the Oregon Marine Debris Team (OMDT), a partnership among four non-profit organizations—Surfrider, SOLVE, Washed Ashore and the CoastWatch program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition—with the cooperation of Oregon Sea Grant.

The OMDT was organized to cope with the threat of debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami, and has a volunteer-based program in place to survey for and clean up tsunami debris. But the partner groups also intend to work together to address the larger, long-term problem of marine debris. There is little scientific data on how much and what types of marine debris washes up on Oregon’s shoreline. The new research project will collect “baseline data” on debris accumulations in Oregon, part of a national study funded by NOAA.

Community grants, intended to help volunteers cover costs of transportation and equipment such as bags, measuring tape, or marker flags, require a commitment to monitor a site consistently for two years, reporting the data according to the NOAA protocol. Recipient groups will also be required to send 1-3 members to a training workshop to learn about the monitoring techniques and link up with other groups involved with marine debris monitoring.

For information, contact Fawn Custer ( – 541-270-0027) or go to the OMDT website,

Click here to download the application form

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