Victory on HB 2463, our marine debris prevention bill! This is a great step in establishing a Submerged Land Enhancement Fund and prescribing authority for removal of priority derelict structures and marine debris on our inland waterways and estuaries. A big thank you to all that supported this effort, from it’s inception in Coos Bay from documentation and stewardship actions at Lighthouse Beach to folks from the Newport Chapter coming to Salem to visit with Representative Gomberg…we even got to help author Oregon’s first statutory definition of marine debris! 

Abandon docks from Coos Bay that washed ashore Lighthouse Beach

Abandon docks from Coos Bay that washed ashore Lighthouse Beach

This legislation established a Submerged Land Enhancement Fund for removal of derelict structures and marine debris on inland waterways and estuaries. Introduced by the Department of State Lands, HB 2463 sets aside a portion of the revenues collected from leases, easements and registrations on state-owned waterways and make those funds available for cleaning up state-owned waterways and the territorial sea as well as doing other enhancement projects.

Our thanks to State Representative David Gomberg, who helped pushed this bill through committee.

“If there is abandoned debris in the riverways we want to get it out of there. We don’t want debris clogging up the rivers and ending up on our beaches,” Gomberg said. “This is a step to clear debris out of our public waterways.  What comes downstream especially after big storms has an impact as it eventually comes to the ocean and to the beaches.” – via Lincoln County Dispatch.

capitol_visitSurfrider chapters in Oregon see a unique opportunity within the fund to address marine debris on inland waterways before it makes its way to the beaches and ocean environment. It’s rare that we  get the occasion to work on sources of marine debris through legislation. Over 80 percent of ocean debris comes from land based sources. The House bill and related funds are an opportunity to keep rivers, beaches and oceans cleaner and prevent disasters like the one at Lighthouse beach from happening in the first place!