Ocean  Dumping  Management
                        Program  Evaluation
                                                                                      December 2012
 Fact Sheet
     The Marine Pollution, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (MPRSA) strictly limits the
      dumping into ocean waters of any material that would adversely affect human
      health, welfare, or amenities; or the marine environment, ecological systems, or
      economic potentialities. The primary source of material that may be dumped in the
      ocean, with appropriate oversight and permitting, is sediment from navigational
      dredging.  Other items that may be disposed in the ocean include vessels that are
      no longer in operation, fish wastes, and human remains.
     EPA's Marine Pollution Control Branch, within the Office of Water (OW), administers
      the Ocean Dumping Management Program in coordination with each of EPA's
      seven coastal Regions (Regions 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, and 10).  EPA is responsible for
      designating ocean disposal sites (both for dredged and non-dredged material),
      establishing and managing Site  Management and Monitoring Plans for all ocean
      disposal sites, and establishing environmental criteria for the evaluation of permit
      applications. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) issues ocean dumping
      permits for dredged material, subject to EPA review and concurrence.  EPA is
      responsible for issuing ocean dumping  permits (special, general, or emergency) for
      all other substances.
     Ocean Dumping Management Program managers applied  for and were awarded
      resources to evaluate the program in order to provide information that will help
      managers  better align resources and activities with  intended outcomes. EPA's
      Evaluation Support Division (ESD) worked with Industrial Economics, Inc., (lEc)
      and its subcontractor, Eastern Research Group (ERG), to complete the  evaluation.

Evaluation Questions
   1. What is the program's theory of change?
   2. What are emerging issues, challenges and opportunities for improving national and
      Regional implementation of the program?
   3. Given stable or  reduced program resources, what are the opportunities for
      improving the alignment between resource deployment and the program's intended
      or desired  outcomes?
   4. How can OD measure its success?

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  Evaluation Methods
  To answer the evaluation questions, the evaluators and EPA used a variety of methods, including:
       A literature review of publicly available and EPA-provided program data;
       A survey of program staff;
       Interviews with Ocean Dumping Management Program staff and managers from EPA HQ and the Regions
       along with a retired program manager, staff from EPA's Clean Water Act Section 404 Program and EPA's
       Office of Research and Development, USAGE, and an interested environmental group; and
       Focus groups with EPA Ocean Dumping Management Program staff and managers.

  Key Findings

Question 1- Theory of Change
       The program theory appears well structured to lead to desired outcomes, and the program's planned
       resource prioritization is appropriate and consistent with EPA's mission, since environmental protection is the
       top priority.
       The program results on several assumptions, including assumptions that there are current regulations in
       place; adequate information to establish program criteria, assess the suitability of material proposed for
       ocean dumping, and determine whether ocean dumping sites are meeting environmentally acceptable
       conditions; clear communication from HQ to Regions, customers, and  partners, and adequate program
       resources. In practice these assumptions do not always hold true, and this is impeding program
       The Ocean Dumping Management Program could improve its information flows and coordination
       mechanisms, for example by establishing more focused regular meetings between the EPA Regions and HQ.
       While some misalignment amongst agency and organizational missions is typical, tension with USAGE is
       posing a serious challenge for the Ocean Dumping Management Program, even though some Regions have a
       positive working relationship with USAGE.

Question 2- Historical and Emerging Issues, Opportunities, and Challenges
       Historical ocean dumping trends and emerging issues include:
       1.   Decreases in ocean dumping nationwide, and an increased focus on beneficial reuse;
       2.   Advances in science and understanding of contaminants;
       3.   Changes in program resources;
       4.   Staff turnover; and
       5.   Region specific issues such restoration in the Gulf of Mexico and tsunami debris on the west coast.
       Program staff and stakeholders express concern that the  regulations and guidance documents have not kept
       pace with advances in science and therefore  need to be updated.
       Regions request guidance and coordination on emerging issues such as contaminants (e.g., pyrethroids and
       Pharmaceuticals) and issues related to climate change.
       Regions seek support from HQ establishing consistent expectations for USAGE Districts.

Question 3- Opportunities for Resource Deployment
       Resources cannot be allocated away from  program without reducing program responsibilities. However,
       interviewees generally agree that the program could do a better job of focusing its efforts and working more
       Several interviewees suggested changes to how resources are allocated across Regions, though there was no
       clear consensus on how to improve this allocation.

     The act of disinvestment from the Bold has taken resources and has been a distraction for the program in
      recent years.

Question 4-Performance Measures
     The current strategic measure focuses on the percent of active dredged material Ocean Dumping sites that
      have achieved environmentally acceptable conditions.  In order for this measure to be valid (i.e., for it to
      accurately represents the condition or phenomenon that it is purporting to represent) the key term
      "environmentally acceptable conditions" should be defined and interpreted consistently.
     There are supplementary outcome and output measures that could help measure program results.  Key
      criteria for assessing measures are the extent to which the program has control over the measure and the
      extent to which the measure reflects program goals. Potential measures include:
          o   Volume of material dumped at ocean dumping sites;
          o   Volume and percentage of contaminated material proposed for ocean disposal that is not allowed to
              be  ocean dumped;
          o   Percentage of monitored sites found to be in compliance;
          o   Percentage of projects where material is diverted to beneficial reuse rather than ocean dumping;
          o   Average number (and range) of years since site monitoring has occurred;
          o   Average number (and range) of years since Site Management and Monitoring Plans (SMMPs) that
              have been reviewed and updated;
          o   Average time to complete specific EPA activities; and
          o   Count of EPA activities.

 Evaluator Recommendations to  EPA
   Based on the findings, the evaluators recommend that EPA:

      1.  Clarify and communicate the importance of the program, focusing on  why this program is essential to
          protecting ocean ecosystems.
      2.  Seek to foster improved communication and partnership with USACE.
      3.  Update program guidance and use the  London Protocol ratification process as an opportunity to update
          the regulations.
      4.  Strengthen program feedback mechanisms, building on a suite of performance measures that encompass
          both outcome and output measures.
      5.  Define the minimum requirements that HQ and the Regions must fulfill, and the resources needed to
          complete those tasks.

 EPA Contact(s)
 Matt Keene, Office of Policy, Keene.Matt@epamail.epa.gov
 Davie Nguyen, Office of Water, Nguyen.Davie@epa mail.epa.gov
 Ryan Gross, Office of Water, Gross.Rvan@epa mail.epa.gov