2023 Mid-Atlantic Marine Debris Summit

Summit Goal:

The 2023 Mid-Atlantic Marine Debris Summit seeks to bring together Mid-Atlantic regional entities working on marine debris (including litter that becomes marine debris) – including state and federal agencies, tribes, non-profit organizations, academia, and other groups – to identify opportunities to incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion into marine debris efforts, coordination between groups, discuss current and emerging marine debris fields, and highlight solutions to marine debris prevention and reduction.

Summit Objectives:

  • Foster meaningful coordination among stakeholders, encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, and strengthen partnerships
  • Incorporate and emphasize diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and accessibility principles throughout the summit agenda and experience
  • Identify barriers to progress, and opportunities for improvement across  Mid-Atlantic marine debris cross-sector initiatives
  • Provide a platform for sharing current research, emerging trends, innovative approaches, and highlighting best practices and successful solutions

Day 1 Agenda

Wednesday, December 6

9:30 Registration Opens

10:00-10:30 PM: Welcome, Opening Remarks & Keynote Address

  • Moderator: Will Isenberg
  • MARCO Executive Director: Avalon Bristow
  • Maryland Department of Natural Resources Assistant Secretary of Aquatic Resources: Kristen Fidler
  • Keynote Speaker: Yugonda Sample-Jones

10:30-12:30PM: Microplastics & Nanoplastics: Implications on the Environment, Humans, and Wildlife

  • Christine Knauss (University of Maryland)- Impacts of Microplastics Ingestion on Oyster Larvae and Implications for Restoration Efforts.
  • Todd Thoman(University of Delaware)– Transport of marine microplastic debris in Delaware coastal waters and implications for buoyant zooplankton

5 Min Q&A

  • Carol Adrianne Smith (Morgan State University)- The high content of degraded microplastics and volatile organic contaminants (VOCs) found in the Chrysaora chesapeakei of the Chesapeake Bay, MD, and its relationship to the aquatic food web. Authors: Carol Adrianne Sauls-Smith, Natalie Drichko, Chunlei Fan, Samuel Mandal, Saroj Pramanik*
  • Britta Baechler (Associate Directory Ocean Plastics Research, Ocean Conservancy)-Microplastics in the U.S.: Public knowledge, concerns and food exposure from commonly-consumed protein products

5 Min Q&A

  • Hayden Boettcher (University of Delaware)- Effects of Polyethylene Terephthalate Microfibers on Mud Crab Panopeus herbstii Throughout Larval Development
  • Bob Murphy(TetraTech)- Development of an Ecological Risk Conceptual Model for Microplastics and Striped Bass in the Potomac River Estuary

5 Min Q&A

12:30-1:30PM: Lunch & Poster Presentation in Main Room

  • EeShan Bhatt, Institution: Applied Ocean Sciences
  • Miranda Keefer, Early Career Professional University of Delaware – School of Marine Science & Policy
  • Nicole Trenholm from University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Horn Point Lab. PhD student and non-profit director of the Ocean Research Project (Will present on Day 2)

1:30-2:30PM: Coastal Storm Debris-Preparing for and Responding to Marine Debris Generated During Natural Disasters

  • John Gallagher (Director of Hydrographic Operations, Maryland DNR)- Hydrographic Operations Debris Removal Efforts Due to 2018 Post Storm Impacts.
  • Kathleen Bergin (Program Manager for Field Operations, DNREC Division of Watershed Stewardship- Case Study: Hurricane Sandy and the continued impacts of marine debris in Delaware.
  • William A. Burket, Jr.(Senior Director, MIRT and Business Continuity Virginia Port Authority)- Assessing Debris within the waterways of the Commonwealth of VA after severe weather.

2:45-4:00PM: Community Engagement Initiatives in Marine Debris

  • Laura Jean Checki- Education and Public Outreach (EPO): What we do here means everything there
  • Diana Burich (NY & NJ Sea Grant)-Community Science to Address Microplastic Pollution in Environmentally-Underserved Urban Watershed Communities in New Jersey and New York


  • Johanna Guardado (Programs Coordinator Defensores de la Cuenca)& Nancy Morales – La Academia de Defensores

4:30PM: Closing Remarks

6:00PM: Marine Debris Trivia Night at Seacrets!

Day 2 Agenda

Thursday, December 7

8:30 Registration Opens

9:00-9:15AM: Opening Remarks

9:15-11:20AM: Marine Debris Reduction: Large Scale Removal Projects

  • Karen Wilson Forget-Bringing Regional Partners Together to Remove AdVs and Forge a New Statewide Approach
  • Alanna Keating– Boat U.S. Foundation

10 Min Q&A

10 Min Coffee Break

  • Ward Slacum, Jr. (Executive Director, Oyster Recovery Partnership)- Use of VIMS Survey Data, Watermen’s Perspective, and successful removal projects in MD
  • Brittany Haywood (Delaware Sea Grant)– Derelict Crab Pots in Delaware’s Inland Bays
  • Steve Evert (Director for Stockton University’s Marine Field Station)– 10 years of DFG removals in New Jersey coastal bays – the keys to success depend on fisher involvement.
  • Renee Sanders (VIMS)– Nationwide Fishing Trap, Removal, 

    Assessment, and Prevention (TRAP) Program.

10 Min Q&A

15 Min Coffee Break

11:20-12:30PM: Marine Debris Prevention Campaigns & Capture Technology

  • Trey Sherard (Anacostia RiverKeeper)-Trash Capture Technologies in the Anacostia River Watershed
  • Marina Feeser & Mandi Wells (OC Surfrider & Ocean Friendly Restaurants)
  • Dr. Christy Tyler (Rochester Institute of Technology)– Mitigation of stormwater debris in the Great Lakes.

11 Min Q&A Panel Discussion

12:30PM: Lunch & Art Display in Main Hall

1:30-4:00PM: Marine Debris Policy

  • Robin Dunbar (PhD Candidate)- Policy Approaches to Marine Debris Removal: A Qualitative Study of Virginia’s Elizabeth River
  • Dr. Nancy Lauer & Michelle Nowlin, J.D. (Duke University)– Data Driven, Local Policy for Reducing Marine Debris
  • Abdulai Fofanah (NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection)– Addressing Trash in the City of New York’s Stormwater

15 Min Q&A

5 Min Break

  • Zach Huntington (Exec. Director, Clean Virginia Waterways)- Using Voter Surveys to Inform Public Policy & Education Campaigns
  • Steve Raabe (OpinionWorks)– Current Project: CBSM Barriers Assessment and Policy Analysis for 3 Marine Debris Types
  • Claudia Davis (Campaign Associate, Oceana)– Working with the Business Community to pass New York City’s “Skip the Stuff” Bill
  • Maryland State Senator Malcom Augustine– Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging Materials Legislation in Maryland

4:00PM: Closing Remarks

5:00PM Post Conference Happy Hour at DRY 85 OC!


The 2023 Marine Debris Summit is free to attend and open to the public!

There are limited travel assistance funds available for speakers, students and tribal members. If you would like to request travel assistance please be sure to indicate so on your registration form.

Showcase your Organization or University!

MARCO has limited space for non-profit organizations and universities to showcase their projects with an exhibit table during the two day summit. We want to see what you’ve been up to and so do our attendees! There is no cost to table for Universities and non-profit organizations. Tabling opportunities will be on a first come first serve basis so be sure to fill out your request today!


MARCO has secured four hotel blocks in close vicinity to the Ocean City, Maryland Convention Center. The town of Ocean City is very walkable and there is a bus that runs the length of the island with stops every 15 minutes. The hotels are listed in order below from the closest to the convention center to the furthest. Parking at the convention center is ample and free.

If booking by phone you must mention that you are part of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean’s Marine Debris Summit.


Roland E. Powell Convention Center
4001 Coastal Hwy, Ocean City, MD 21842


»Aloft Ocean City

4501 Coastal Hwy, Ocean City, MD 21842

(443) 373-0800

»DoubleTree by Hilton Ocean City Ocean Front

 3301 Atlantic Ave, Ocean City, MD 21842

(410) 289-1234

Book Now→

»Hilton Suites Ocean Front

3200 Baltimore Ave, Ocean City, MD 21842

(410) 289-6444

Book Now→

»Holiday Inn Ocean Front

6600 Coastal Hwy, Ocean City, MD 21842

(410) 524-1600

Book Now→



Thank you to this year’s Mid-Atlantic Marine Debris Summit Sponsors!

Become a Sponsor of the 2023 Marine Debris Summit!

Show your support for marine debris reduction by sponsoring this year’s Summit. Sponsorship allows us to keep this event free to ensure all are able to attend. Help support collaboration for marine debris reduction and network with a variety of stakeholders!

Interested in presenting or have questions? Email info@midatlanticocean.org or fill out the form below.