WEATHER IN LINCOLN COUNTY


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Japan Tsunami debris arrival on U.S. shores topic of upcoming public meetings


U.S. Navy photo

QUESTIONS ABOUT TSUNAMI DEBRIS TO BE ADDRESSED IN PUBLIC WORKSHOPS
Info provided by Oregon Sea Grant Extension (OSU)

Local organizations are hosting community meetings to share current information and science on marine debris left by the Japanese tsunami in 2011 from federal, state, and local experts.

Public concern is growing that debris pulled out to sea by the Japanese tsunami last March is heading toward the West Coast, raising many questions on everything from ghost ships to what to expect while beachcombing. The best guess of oceanographers who study ocean currents is that the bulk of this tsunami debris may arrive on the West Coast a year from now—in 2013—but no one is certain of when or how much.

Several Oregon non-profit organizations that specialize in caring for the state’s shoreline and coping with litter are responding to the overwhelming volume of requests and questions from their volunteers and the public about the possible surge of tsunami-caused debris. These organizations (SOLVE, Surfrider Foundation, the CoastWatch program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, the Washed Ashore Project, in partnership with Oregon Sea Grant/OSU Extension) will be sponsoring a series of public information sessions featuring the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Marine Debris Program staff.

Key speaker will be Nir Barnea, West Coast regional coordinator for NOAA’s marine debris program. He will describe what is known about the contents and trajectory of the debris crossing the Pacific, and what is currently being done across the Pacific to prepare to deal with the debris.

The NOAA Marine Debris Program will be joined by individuals from the following invited organizations and agencies: U.S. Coast Guard, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division, County Emergency Managers, and Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. Local waste managers and coastal haulers have also been invited as their experience with marine debris disposal could prove invaluable.

All events are free and open to all. After presentations, audience members will have a chance to ask questions about everything from public health to returning any personal valuables that may be found amid the debris.

Here is the tentative list of times and locations for the Japanese tsunami marine debris presentations. To verify the schedule, go to www.solv.org for up-to-date information:

April 11th, Seaside 2-3:30 pm, Seaside Community Center
1225 Ave A • Seaside OR • 541-961-8143
April 11th, Bay City 6-7:30 pm, Bay City Arts Center
5680 A St • Bay City OR • 503-844-9571 x317
April 12th, Pacific City 10-11:30 am, Kiawanda Community Center
34600 Cape Kiwanda Dr • Pacific City, OR • 503-754-9303

April 12th, Newport 6-7:30 pm, Newport City Hall
169 SW Coast Hwy • Newport, OR • 541-961-8143

April 13th, Florence 10-11:30 am, Florence Fire Station
2625 Hwy 101 • Florence, OR • 541-297-4227

April 13th, North Bend 2-3:30 pm, North Bend Public Library
1800 Sherman Ave • North Bend, OR • 541-297-4227
April 13th, Bandon 6-7:30 pm, City Council Chamber/City Hall
555 Highway 101 • Bandon, OR • 541-297-4227
April 14th, Port Orford 10-11:00 am, American Legion Hall
421 11th St • Port Orford, OR • 541-961-8143
April 14th, Eugene 3:00-4:30 pm, EWEB Training Center
500 East 4th Ave N Bldg • Eugene, OR • 503-844-9571 x317
April 15th, Portland 3:30-5:00 pm, Ecotrust Natural Capital Center
721 NW 9th Ave • Portland, OR • 503-844-9571 x317
April 20th, Cannon Beach, time and location TBD

“Right now, as a result of the tragic tsunami disaster, Brookings Oregon is rebuilding, Japan is reeling and the West Coast States are preparing to clean up an unprecedented amount of debris being carried to our coast on the ocean currents. Our oceans connect us and are essential to a healthy environment and economy,” says Cylvia Hayes, First Lady of Oregon. “These workshops are important to helping us effectively deal with the tsunami debris and better protect the health of oceans and coastal communities.”

The groups expect to conduct organizing and education efforts later this year to strengthen their citizen response networks before the expected arrival of the bulk of the debris.

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