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News Releases from Region 04

EPA Announces Tentative Awardees for the Waterway Trash Reduction Grant in the Gulf

Contact Information: 
James Pinkney (
(404) 562-9183 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main)

BILOXI, Miss. (April 22, 2020) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Gulf of Mexico Division announced that it anticipates awarding over $7.8 million in grant funding to 17 recipients for innovative projects focused on reducing the amount of trash in our waterways through trash prevention and/or removal.

“The EPA has over 50 partnership projects across the country as part of our Trash Free Waters Program, which focuses on preventing trash from reaching waterways in the first place,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “These 17 recipients will target the Gulf of Mexico Region for clean-up, trash prevention and education. Preventing trash from entering the waterways will have an immediate impact on the Gulf’s ecosystem.”

“Staying on the front lines of environmental protection requires ingenuity and proactive practices. Investing in efforts to eliminate trash from entering waterways is critical for the protection of our streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans and essential for healthy drinking water, It gives me great pleasure to announce these tentative awards that exemplify the essence of Earth Day,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “From a healthy ecosystem, to an economic boom, to flood protection, the benefits of trash free waters are endless.”

“The variety of missions represented in our grantee organizations shows the breadth of partnerships needed to keep trash out of our waterways,” said EPA Region 6 Administrator Ken McQueen. “EPA is proud to maintain our commitment to working with these groups and others to meet this challenge and protect the Gulf of Mexico.”

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. About 80% of plastics come from land-based sources carried by both wind and water.

Projects include:

  • Trash Prevention - Trash prevention projects focus on the reduction or elimination of trash that has the potential of entering waterways. These projects are typically focused on source reduction through innovation, industry engagement and stewardship initiatives.
  • Trash Removal - Trash removal projects benefit habitat and waterways through the development and use of tools and resources that support trash assessment and stop trash from entering waterbodies and/or remove trash that has already entered the water.
  • Outreach/education - These projects incorporate education and outreach that would result in positive changes in consumer and/or business behaviors and practices to reduce trash in waterways.

2020 Trash Free Waters tentative awardees:

  • MS/AL Sea Grant (Mississippi State University)
  • Mississippi State University- Industrial and Systems Engineering Dept.
  • University of Louisiana at Lafayette
  • LA UniMarCon - Louisiana State University dba LA Universities Marine Consortium
  • Escambia County Board of Commissioners
  • Tampa Bay Estuary Program
  • Gulf Coast Design Studio (Mississippi State University)
  • Florida Department of Environmental Protection
  • Ground Works New Orleans
  • Freshwater Land Trust
  • City of Mobile
  • Alabama Department of Environmental Management
  • American Bird Conservancy
  • North Central Texas Council of Governments
  • Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program Inc.
  • Port of Corpus Christi Authority
  • Keep Texas Beautiful Inc.


The Gulf of Mexico Division is a non-regulatory program of EPA founded to facilitate collaborative actions to protect, maintain, and restore the health and productivity of the Gulf of Mexico in ways consistent with the economic well-being of the region. To carry out its mission, the Gulf of Mexico Division continues to maintain and expand partnerships with state and federal agencies, federally recognized tribes, local governments and authorities, academia, regional business and industry, agricultural and environmental organizations, and individual citizens and communities.

For more information about the U.S. EPA Gulf of Mexico Division go to:

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