Tsunami Debris from Japan May Hit Oregon Coast Soon

NEWPORT, Ore. — State and federal agencies, along with nonprofit groups, met Tuesday to start putting together a plan for how to deal with the debris from last year’s tsunami in Japan if and when it shows up along the Oregon Coast.

Park rangers clean up items that have washed up ashore here along the Oregon Coast on a daily basis. But now with the chance of debris from the tsunami that hit Japan last year washing up ashore, they’re not sure how much we’ll be seeing, but they’re preparing for the worst.

NOAA representatives say some debris has already hit Alaska, but so far there are no confirmed reports of any tsunami debris landing on the Oregon Coast.

However, they say high-wind items, like a buoy, soccer ball or boat, could be washing up on our coast any day now.

“We have not seen any tsunami debris at all. We’ve had a couple of calls; both of them were checked out, and neither one of them ended up being tsunami debris,” said Beverly Beach State Park Manager Patti Green.

Low-wind items, like a net or timber, are expected to take a few years to hit our coast.

Coastal residents say they’re anticipating what might show up.

“It puts it into perspective. You know maybe what could be coming up or whatnot I mean, big or bad, hoping for the best because you don’t want anything bad happening as far as animal life and stuff like that,” said Newport Resident John Hicks.

“Well, clean up the beach for one, keep it nice and clean, and just see what you can find, because I like to beach comb,” said Waldport resident Becky Whelen.

The big question is, how much debris can we expect?

State park leaders say they’re preparing for the worst, but don’t anticipate there actually being a problem.

They say volunteers will play a big role in helping clean up the debris.

“I think it’ll have to be a big community effort and agencies, you know, multi-agency effort because the parks themselves can’t take care of all of that,” Green said.

If you do happen to find trash from the tsunami, you’re asked to report it to NOAA before throwing it away.  If you find anything of value like a personal item, you’re asked to turn it over to any state parks department. If you find something you think might be hazardous, call 911.

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