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The purpose of an action plan is to serve as a guidance document or a central point of reference for improved collaboration and coordination among the multitude of stakeholders across the greater Houston-Galveston region, to avoid duplication and optimize the efficiency and efficacy of efforts.

The document is not intended to be regulatory or specifically binding on actions or timeframes.

What is an action plan?

“The action plan provides scientists, governments, stakeholders, and decision makers a road map for strategic progress to see that the Great Lakes, its coasts, people, and wildlife are free from the impacts of marine debris. It centers around a mission to combat debris through an increased understanding of the problem, preventative actions, reductions in impacts, education and outreach, and collaborative efforts from diverse groups.”

                                         -The Great Lakes Land-based Marine Debris Action Plan

An action plan is bigger than a communications plan for a marketing or awareness campaign. The communications plan is a piece of the larger action plan.


An action plan brings together a diverse group of stakeholders and partners across the region to address many aspects of marine debris and aquatic trash.

Our Framework for a Successful Plan:

1. Build Partnerships
  • Identify key stakeholders

  • Identify issues of concern

  • Set primary goals

  • The May 2017 Trash Summit was the

       beginning of this process.

2. Characterize and Conceptualize
  • Define the geographic area of focus

  • Characterize existing conditions

  • Gather existing data

  • Identify gaps

  • Identify causes and sources of trash pollution

  • Identify public awareness and perception

3. Finalize Goals, Identify Solutions and Prepare Action Plan
  • Set overall goals, strategies and objectives

  • Develop targets

  • Develop measures to achieve goals

  • Identify lead implementers

  • Set a timeline to achieve goals

  • Set timeline to assess achievements and overall plan review

4. Implement Action Plan
  • Implement strategies

    • Conduct research and monitoring

    • Conduct clean ups and removals

    • Implement waste reduction mechanisms

    • Conduct public awareness and perception surveys

    • Support local, state, and federal government waste reduction efforts

    • Conduct information/education activities

      • Create and implement campaign plans for community-based social marketing efforts for sustainable behavior change

5. Measure Progress
  • Review and evaluate progress/success

  • Report back to stakeholders/partners and others

  • Share results

  • Make adjustments to the plan

    • Remove actions that have been completed

    • Add new actions if needed

Examples from other parts of the U.S.

Our group located multiple marine debris action plans from across the country to serve as examples for our process. Each location has a unique set of challenges and different approaches to organizing and designing their individual documents. 

The Greater Houston- Galveston Trash-Based Aquatic Action Plan was designed with these examples in mind.  We are examining the elements of each document and looking to these previous action plans for ideas we can customize to our area.

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