Japanese Tsunami

AP Photo/Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

Exactly three years have passed since a huge tsunami in March 2011 took thousands of lives in Japan and washed whole villages out to sea. Suspected tsunami debris started arriving on our shores the following December, but it's been less than feared.

Washington Dept. of Fish & Wildlife / Associated Press

Workers are waitingin Forks for better weather to start removing a 65-foot long dock that washed ashore on the Washington coast from the Japanese tsunami.

A spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Keeley Belva, said Friday work could start over the weekend if weather, tides and safety considerations are favorable.

The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan served as a wake up call for coastal residents and visitors on our shores. But two years later, it is hard to measure how much that disaster has changed tsunami readiness on the Pacific Northwest coast.

Althea Rizzo is the geologic hazards program coordinator for Oregon Emergency Management. She says she's certain tsunami awareness has increased.

A team from Washington Fish and Wildlife is trying to figure out whether the newest rusty visitor to the Northwest coast came from the 2011 tsunami in Japan. The 19-foot-long metal pipe landed at Cape Disappointment near Ilwaco, Wash.

State Parks spokeswoman Sandy Mealing says the metal tourist will reside in a storage area until it can pass a few more tests.

State and federal biologists say they are confident they have minimized the invasive species threat posed by a derelict dock that washed ashore last month in Olympic National Park. The concrete and steel dock appears to have drifted across the Pacific Ocean after last year's tsunami in Japan. But the story is not over yet.

AP

Federal, state and tribal officials are attempting to track a large dock that was reported drifting off the coast of Washington state.

NOAA spokeswoman Keeley Belva said Monday the object has not been relocated or confirmed since it was initially reported Dec. 14. Fishermen aboard a vessel reported seeing a large object floating off the coast, about 16 nautical miles northwest of Grays Harbor. 

The Associated Press

Winter winds and ocean currents are expected to deposit more debris on the Washington coast from the March 2011 tsunami in Japan.

State Ecology Department spokeswoman Linda Kent says the amount of debris declined over the summer after peaking in June, but it could pick up as weather patterns shift.

Researchers with Oregon State University and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say they’ve detected minute amounts of radioactivity from the Fukushima reactor meltdown in albacore tuna caught along the West Coast. It's not considered a health threat at all.

For the first time, the Japanese government says it will help to cover some of the cost of cleaning up tsunami debris on American and Canadian shores. Confirmed debris swept to sea by last year's Japanese tsunami began to wash up here this spring.

International law imposes no formal obligation on Japan to help. But now the spin from Tokyo is that the Japanese government wants to make a gesture of appreciation for the overseas support it has received since last year.

Here's chief cabinet secretary Osamu Fujimura speaking through a translator.

Tsunami debris clean-up costs mounting in NW

Aug 7, 2012

SALEM, Ore. – The costs of cleaning up Japanese tsunami debris along Northwest coasts are adding up. Oregon says it's reached the half-million dollar mark. And officials say debris is now being spotted in unexpected places.

Tsunami debris. It's not just for ocean beaches anymore.

"This stuff's coming into rivers now," says Mike Caldwell, Deputy Director of the Oregon Military Department.

The Associated Press

Workers removing a tsunami dock from Agate Beach near Newport cut off the first piece Wednesday, but they were unable to remove it before dark.

Eight junior high students and their teachers from the Japanese tsunami zone arrive in Seattle Thursday. It's an unusual disaster relief effort. The schoolchildren are being treated to a free trip to escape the still difficult conditions at home, at least temporarily.

Bellevue, Washington-based web and email hosting firm PSP, Inc. donated to Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief last year, like other Pacific Northwest companies did.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Lawmakers from the Northwest say a new federal grant to help clean up tsunami debris is just not enough to get the job done. They’re lobbying for millions of dollars to get rid of items washing ashore from last year’s tsunami in Japan.

More than 700 volunteers turned out Thursday to help pick up litter and flotsam on the Oregon and southwest Washington coasts. Volunteers were on alert for debris from last year's tsunami in Japan. There were some possible new finds on Long Beach, Washington.

The fifth of July is a traditional beach cleanup day in Manzanita and Seaside, Oregon and on Washington's Long Beach Peninsula. The coordinator of Manzanita's cleanup estimates the three dump truck loads hauled away were "99 percent fireworks" related.

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Gov. Chris Gregoire is releasing $500,000 from her emergency fund to address costs associated with potential debris washing up on the state's beaches from the Japanese tsunami.

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon is putting out dumpsters at coastal parks for beachgoers to throw away tsunami debris. Governor John Kitzhaber announced Thursday he’s appointed an interagency team to coordinate efforts to dispose of materials washed up from last year’s Japanese tsunami.

A new hotline provides instruction and access to a quick response team for help with larger remains. National Guard General Mike Caldwell, heads the new taskforce.

LONG BEACH, Wash. — The Pacific County sheriff's office says a small dock that washed ashore on the Long Beach Peninsula appears to be more tsunami debris.

Tsunami dock to be dismantled, removed

Jun 20, 2012

The days are numbered for the massive Japanese dock that washed up on an Oregon beach earlier this month. The Oregon State Parks Department announced Tuesday that it's accepted a bid from a Vancouver, Washington salvage company to break apart the dock and remove it.

David Solomon of the Parks Department says the $84,000 demolition was cheaper than towing the dock to a new location. And he says wildlife experts were concerned that re-using the dock would make coastal waters vulnerable to invasive species.

The Associated Press

Kayakers surveying Washington state's most remote beaches for debris from last year's Japanese tsunami say they believe they have found part of a house.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration / The Associated Press

OCEAN SHORES, Wash. — Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire says federal help is needed to help clean up tsunami debris that reaches the West Coast.

She told a news conference Monday morning at Ocean Shores, "We don't have the resources at the state level to do what we're going to have to do here."

People are flocking to an Oregon beach to see a Japanese dock that floated across the Pacific after last year's tsunami. But state officials aren't interested in turning it into a tourist spot.

OCEAN PARK, Wash. — It's not just fishing floats, derelict ships or docks that are washing ashore on Northwest beaches as debris from the March 2011 tsunami in Japan crosses the Pacific.

No decision yet on the fate of Japanese tsunami dock

Jun 10, 2012

SALEM, Ore. – Oregon Parks officials are still weighing their options for the giant piece of tsunami debris that washed up on the Oregon coast this week. The Japanese dock continues to draw onlookers to the beach near Newport.

The state Parks and Recreation Department opened the removal project up for bid Friday. The agency’s Chris Havel says the proposals that come in will help determine whether the dock will be destroyed or reused.

NEWPORT, Ore. – Park rangers and volunteers worked quickly Thursday to defuse an invasive species time bomb that washed up near Newport, Oregon. They scraped off and sterilized a huge boat dock that was set adrift by last year’s devastating tsunami in Japan.

A bizarre event has drawn scientists to a beach in Oregon — a floating concrete dock from Japan has washed ashore. It had been ripped from its moorings by last year's tsunami and floated across the Pacific.

The dock is encrusted with mussels, barnacles and other marine life from Asia. Scientists are amazed these organisms survived the 14-month voyage, but they're also worried some of these organisms could become pests in U.S. waters.

When a massive concrete and metal dock – 66 feet long, seven feet tall, 19 feet wide and covered in alien species – hit an Oregon beach this week, the threat to the Northwest’s economy and environment from millions of tons of Japanese tsunami debris suddenly became more real.

Even with the haunting appearance of a Japanese ship floating off the coast of Alaska, reports of what we might expect to hit our coastlines centered mostly on plastics, soccer balls and even some human remains in running shoes – all of which carried more curiosity than alarm.

But then the dock just showed up on the beach one morning and now the threat of ships colliding with significant tsunami debris, and the invasive species that can hitch a ride from the coast of Japan on them, has officials significantly worried.

Japanese dock unmoored by tsunami washes ashore in Newport

Jun 7, 2012
Courtesy of Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation

The Japanese consulate has confirmed that the dock that washed ashore Tuesday at Agate Beach near Newport is debris from the March 2011 Tsunami in Japan. it was checked for radiation and results came back negative.

Now, Oregon officials have organized a group of volunteers to scrape off, bag up and dispose of the hundreds of millions of marine organisms that hitchhiked aboard a boxcar-sized dock that floated across the Pacific during last year's tsunami.

Feist, Michael / Flickr

PORT ANGELES, Wash. — An oceanographer who tracks flotsam says West Coast beachcombers may find floating athletic shoes with human bones as more debris from the Japanese tsunami washes ashore. In a presentation Monday at a tsunami symposium in Port Angeles, Curt Ebbesmeyer told the audience he's expected 100 sneakers with bones in them.

Spy satellites used in search for tsunami debris

May 21, 2012

HONOLULU – Another piece of confirmed tsunami debris – part of a restaurant sign – has washed ashore in Alaska. But marine scientists can’t say how much other Japanese disaster debris is trailing behind. This problem surfaced at a U.S. Senate hearing Thursday. Researchers are now getting some access to spy satellite imagery.

OCEAN SHORES, Wash. - The first items of debris swept into the Pacific Ocean by last year's big tsunami in Japan are turning up on the Northwest coast. More is out there drifting our way. The state of Washington hosted a meeting Wednesday to prepare local governments and beachgoers for what to do about this. Oregon held similar meetings last week. Here's the takeaway: tsunami debris pickup depends largely on you.

Pages