Water Quality

The Need for Action

In recent decades, the Mid-Atlantic states have made progress in reducing degradation of marine waters. Yet, despite federal and state legal and regulatory frameworks which seek to improve water quality in the Mid-Atlantic, problems remain. MARCO is working regionally to address both existing and emerging marine water quality concerns.

Marine Debris

NOAA defines marine debris 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. Marine debris has the potential to impact ecosystems, economies and public health. Addressing the problem requires collaboration across multiple levels of government, with partners in the private sector, and with members of the public. MARCO supports regional coordination on marine debris through several collaborative efforts, one being the Marine Debris Work Group established under the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Ocean Action Plan and co-led by MARCO and the EPA.

Ocean Acidification

The ocean absorbs approximately 30% of CO2 released into the atmosphere. This CO2 uptake combined with nutrient run-off from land lowers the ocean’s pH, making it more acidic through a process termed ocean acidification. MARCO co-leads the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Acidification Network (MACAN), a network of scientists, industry partners, and resource managers seeking to better understand and address ocean acidification’s impacts on coastal waters through collaborative monitoring, research, and adaptation strategies. MARCO’s work with MACAN also supports MARCO’s Climate Change Adaptation priority.

Work Groups/Collaborative Efforts

MARCO and MACO collaborate with governmental agencies, tribal nations and many other interested stakeholders through a series of specially focused work groups. The areas of focus that are relevant to this priority include:

Additional Resources