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EPA Recognizes Projects That Reduce Trash on Texas Coast; Three Groups Receive Nearly $1.4 Million

09/16/2020
Contact Information: 
Jennah Durant or Joe Hubbard (R6Press@epa.gov)
214 665-2200

DALLAS – (Sept. 16, 2020) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized three groups that received grants for projects to reduce and prevent trash along the Texas coast and in the Gulf of Mexico. The grants, totaling $1,393,954, were awarded under EPA’s Trash Free Waters program to the American Bird Conservancy (ABC), the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program (CBBEP), and the Port of Corpus Christi Authority (PCCA). The organizations were recognized during a virtual press conference this morning. 

“Water is an immediate environmental concern facing the world right now, and one of the major water issues is marine litter,” said Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “The groups we honor today are raising public awareness of the challenge of marine litter, and they are involving their communities in solving it. EPA is proud to support these projects through our Trash Free Waters grants.”

“Trash pollution is a global issue impacting people and wildlife, and we’re excited to launch our new project with EPA and our partners that will reduce trash accumulating in coastal areas in the Galveston Bay region of Texas – an area critical for birds like the Snowy Plover and Least Tern,” said Kacy Ray, Gulf Coastal Program Manager for ABC. “Our work will also include a coordinated education and outreach campaign to engage local communities, stakeholders, and natural resource managers whose coastal lands are adversely impacted by trash and plastic pollution. Education will be centered on ways to prevent trash, such as reducing single-use plastics and disposing of fishing line appropriately.”

“The Coastal Bend Bays & Estuaries Program is so thankful for the funding from EPA to establish the UP2U program in the Coastal Bend,” said CBBEP Communications Manager Kathryn Tunnell. “This program will not only empower our community to remove trash and harmful debris from the environment, but also provide them the resources to do so. It is a tremendous step in the right direction towards creating sustainable behavior change, and we are excited to be a part of it.” 

“The Port of Corpus Christi welcomes this opportunity to further our commitment as an environmental steward," said Sean Strawbridge, Chief Executive Officer for the Port of Corpus Christi. “This EPA grant shall fund the purchase of a large trash skimmer to address the influx of trash that enters Corpus Christi Bay, thereby protecting aquatic life and improving water quality in and around the harbor and in keeping with the Port’s Environmental Policy."

With a grant of $499,773, the American Bird Conservancy will reduce trash accumulating on upper coastal beaches to reduce the amount of trash entering the Gulf of Mexico, and will launch a coordinated education and outreach campaign to engage local communities, stakeholders, and natural resource managers impacted by trash and plastic pollution. During the grant period, this program will launch an innovative online platform to collect data and engage the public, potentially for use Gulf-wide.

The Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program grant of $422,857 will fund the expansion of their  Up2U litter prevention program from the headwaters of the Nueces basin to six counties and ten watersheds within the Coastal Bend. Yellow mesh bags emblazoned with the empowering Up2U message that hold about 1/3rd yard of litter are the project’s main tool for trash removal, trash prevention, and outreach. The project will include strategic billboards, radio spots, litter bag distribution points, and community cleanup events, and extend partnerships to continue distributing litter bags and support the program into the future.

The Port of Corpus Christi Authority received $471,324 for the Salt Flats Ditch Trash Reduction & Prevention Project. The grant will fund the purchase and deployment of a mobile trash skimming device in Salt Flats Ditch, which is a natural discharge accumulation point for removing municipal trash before entering the Corpus Christi Ship Channel. The Corpus Christi Ship Channel flows through Corpus Christi Bay into the Gulf of Mexico.

The funding to these three groups  is part of $7.8 million in grants to 17 recipients in Gulf of Mexico states for innovative projects focused on reducing the amount of trash in our waterways through trash prevention and/or removal.

EPA's Trash-Free Waters program is reducing the volume of trash entering U.S. waterways.

Common trash from consumer goods makes up the majority of what eventually becomes marine debris, polluting our waterways and oceans. Plastics in the aquatic environment are of increasing concern because of their persistence and effect on the environment, wildlife, and human health. EPA has provided technical and financial support for a number of projects designed to prevent trash from entering waterways.

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About EPA Region 6: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central  

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