Tsunami Debris Coming in with New Storm Surges


underside of the rail. Mytilus galloprovincialis

underside of the rail. Mytilus galloprovincialis

even in the cracks and crevices

even in the cracks and crevices

Dr. Chapman was called to Yachats, February 17,2014, where tsunami debris with live organisms was found.  The section of fiberglass boat railing had a plethora of Japanese mussels and other organisms.  Attached are pictures of the debris and of the sampling technique.  Reminder to contact Chapman’s lab if you find debris with organisms on it.

Sampling Technique-Scrape-Bag It-Tag It

Sampling Technique-Measure Area-Scrape-Bag-Tag 

Please call Dr. Jessica Miller (503-939-9812) or Dr. John Chapman (541-961-3258) for questions about animals. Please call Dr. Gayle Hansen (541-265-4061 (AM) or 541-867-5012 (PM) for questions about algae.

To report marine debris, email,

call 1-800-SAFENET or contact Fawn Custer, CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator (541 270 0027)


image-4 (1)

The Oregon Marine Debris Team is seeking volunteer groups to participate in a community grants program which will support monitoring for marine debris. Up to 10 local groups (either existing organizations or teams that unite for this effort) will be awarded $500 to assist them in regularly monitoring and submitting reports on marine debris that washes up at selected sites.

Click here to download the application form

The project is part of an ongoing research program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Participating groups will employ a “protocol” developed by NOAA to gather data and the types and amounts of marine debris reaching the shore. Monitoring sites are 100 meters (about 325 feet) long, and are selected according to specific criteria. Surveys must be done regularly on a monthly basis. The information collected, using NOAA’s method, is then uploaded onto a website.

Specific sites should fall within areas chosen for the study. A map of the potential areas can be found at: OMDT Marine Debris Monitoring Areas 2013

Areas include:

  • Area 1- Columbia south jetty to Camp Rilea
  • Area 2- Arch Cape to Nehalem Spit
  • Area 3- Nestucca mouth to Salmon River Spit
  • Area 4- Government Point to Yaquina Head
  • Site 5- Muriel O. Ponsler*
  • Area 6-Siuslaw south jetty to Horsfall Beach
  • Area 7- Bastendorff Beach to Seven Devils Wayside 
  • Site 8- Port Orford*
  • Site 9- Gold Beach*
  • Area 10- Hooskenaden Creek to Rainbow Rock

*Community groups are already engaged in monitoring using the NOAA protocol at sites 5, 8 and 9.

Within each area, preference will be given to proposals for more remote areas with less human traffic and where it is less likely that litter will be picked up between monitoring sessions.

No prior experience is necessary. Training and support will be provided by the Oregon Marine Debris Team (OMDT), a partnership among four non-profit organizations—Surfrider, SOLVE, Washed Ashore and the CoastWatch program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition—with the cooperation of Oregon Sea Grant.

The OMDT was organized to cope with the threat of debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami, and has a volunteer-based program in place to survey for and clean up tsunami debris. But the partner groups also intend to work together to address the larger, long-term problem of marine debris. There is little scientific data on how much and what types of marine debris washes up on Oregon’s shoreline. The new research project will collect “baseline data” on debris accumulations in Oregon, part of a national study funded by NOAA.

Community grants, intended to help volunteers cover costs of transportation and equipment such as bags, measuring tape, or marker flags, require a commitment to monitor a site consistently for two years, reporting the data according to the NOAA protocol. Recipient groups will also be required to send 1-3 members to a training workshop to learn about the monitoring techniques and link up with other groups involved with marine debris monitoring.

For information, contact Fawn Custer ( – 541-270-0027) or go to the OMDT website,

Click here to download the application form

Rapid Response Prevents Derelict Net and Rope From Wreaking More Havoc

Thank you to the Yachats Academy of Arts and Sciences for allowing me to share our project with their members. and thanks to some quick responding participants who’d come to my talk about marine debris, a mass of net and rope were removed from the beach at Yachats.

44.307552, -124.103891

Thursday, October 15th, I gave a talk and shared the video  ” It’s Everybody’s Ocean”, directed by Atsuko Quirk.  Our goal and the goal of the Oregon Marine Debris Team is to make everyone aware of the amount and types of debris washing up on all of our shorelines.

Friday, October 16th, a little after 10am I received the first call from Zach, who said he’d been to the talk the night before and was now on the beach with a mass of netting and rope. 13. Zack cutting rope I left a message for OPRD and in the meantime another call came in from John informing me that he’d also been to my talk and wanted to report a large mass of netting and rope on the beach.  It is a priority to get these masses of rope off the beach before they become even partially buried in the sand.  Once that happens, it usually takes a pickup or heavier equipment to get it up out of the sand.

After letting John know that I would be heading there within the hour, I spoke with Bea at OPRD to inform her of the rogue net and rope.  By the time Mike and I got there, Zach, Bob, John and Mark were starting to pull the rope off the beach.

2.smaller sizes   4. Zack and John

Mike helped with the removal of the large pieces and I gathered the scraps. 5. Mike  10.more rope w: bait box?

I contacted Bea and sent photos showing the location of the rope mass to be picked up by OPRD.

11. resting after hard workout    Rope and net off the beach12. Info sign for OPRD

Thank you to these guys for some great teamwork.

If you find something on the beach that needs immediate attention please call me at 541.270.0027

Fawn Custer

CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator

CoastWatch Mile 43- Disaster Averted

Thanks to the quick thinking of long-time (since 1995) CoastWatch mile adopter Dale Lee, we were able to avoid a disaster like the one on Light House Beach, last year.  Dale has a secluded pocket beach south of Humbug Mountain that catches all kinds of interesting items.  Last year it was a massive pink float with a massive pink barnacle, Megabalanus Rosa. Drs. Chapman and Miller were excited about that.

This last couple of weeks it has been all about a derelict dock

Dale initially contacted me on March 28,

“It has few to zero sea creatures attached to it and moss growing on the sides, plus little damage so I think it is somewhat local, and was probably lost from fresh water. Three sections are approximately 4×8 each. Bottoms are Fiberglas filled with low grade foam. NOT tsunami debris, although there were a few timbers and other sundry Japanese items today. I’m pretty busy for a few days but will try to get a mile report out later in the week.”

1.dock discovered 3:28:15

Dock discovered 3/28/15. 

The beach ranger was contacted and asked for verification of dock location. He felt this was out of his realm of expertise.

Dock still there 4/2/15

Dock still there 4/2/15 

We then contacted the members of our OMDTeam which included State Parks, Surfrider, Washed Ashore, and SOLVE.  Shirley Stentz of State Parks and located there in Curry County, contacted the Corrections Department and within a few days plans were set and the dock was removed.  The series of attached photos tell the story.

Yep, it is at the other end

Yep, it is at the other end

Decision Time- 4/9/15

Decision Time- 4/9/15

5. initial dismantling

Initial Dismantling 4/9/15

6.dismantling begins

Diving into the dismantle.

7. separated


8. That'll get heavy

That’ll get heavy!

9. Better plan

A better plan

10. Team work

Team work

11. Mile 43 the trek

Mile 43 trek

12. The long trek

The long walk back to the trail head.

13. Evidence of many trips

Evidence of many trips

15. Down to the last

Almost Completely dismantled

14. Almost complete

Almost Complete

16. Debris in trucks

Trucks loaded with debris.

Our many, many thanks go to Oregon Parks and Rec Department and the Oregon Department of Corrections for the able bodies and labor involved.

Fawn Custer, CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator

Derelict Boat Captured and Cleaned

April 10th, the boat was towed into Yaquina Bay, docked at South Beach Marina until high tide when it was towed up to Riverbend Marina.  On April 11, the boat was hauled out, the bottom scraped and then pulled up on a hoist to complete the cleaning before being sent to the landfill.  Specimens were collected by Jim Burke, Oregon Coast Aquarium (the fish), Gayle Hansen, OSU phycologist (the alga) and John Chapman, OSU biologist ( the invertebrates).

Mass from the bottom of the boat

biotic mass from boat hull 4/11/15

Pelagic barnacle

pelagic barnacles up to 25cm (10 in) long 4/11/15

closeup of mass

Close-up of mass 4/111/15


hydroid mass from boat 4/11/15

Hoisted to finish cleaning

Hoisted to finish cleaning 4/11/15

Suspected derelict tsunami debris boat located offshore near Seal Rock

Suspected derelict tsunami debris boat located offshore near Seal Rock

April 10, 2015

​Media Contact: Chris Havel, Director’s Office, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Cell: 503-931-2590

Waldport OR – A chunk of a fiberglass boat 25-30′ long was spotted off the Oregon shore west of Ona Beach in Lincoln County around 9:30 a.m. April 9, 2015. The debris appears to be half to two-thirds of a larger vessel, possibly damaged and set adrift during the earthquake and tsunami that struck the east coast of Japan in 2011. As of 5 p.m. April 9, the debris was a few miles offshore. A team of Oregon state agencies are coordinating to retrieve the object in the next 24 hours before it reaches land.

Biologists with the Oregon Coast Aquarium and Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center inspected the low-floating object and, after consulting with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, determined the organisms still attached posed a low threat to the Oregon coast ecosystem. They did find several live specimens of a variety of yellowtail jack fish found in the coastal waters of Japan.

Using funds set aside for responding to tsunami debris, Riverbend Marine Services of Newport will attempt to retrieve the debris today and tow it to the Port of Newport, where port officials immediately offered their cooperation to temporarily store it. The debris will eventually be removed from water, studied by OSU researchers, then dismantled and disposed of in a local landfill. The surviving fish will be removed and delivered into the care of the Oregon Coast Aquarium. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provided mapping to predict the location of the object based on sightings. The U.S. Coast Guard broadcast a notice to boaters, and marked it with a life ring, and placed a data-transmitting buoy to help track the debris.

Agencies coordinating on this response include the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon State Marine Board, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Office of Emergency Management, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon Department of State Lands, Oregon State University, Oregon State Police, Office of the Governor, U.S. Coast Guard, and NOAA.

Beach visitors and marine boaters are reminded to be on the lookout for any debris floating at sea. In an emergency, call 911. For less urgent reports, call 211 from any coastal county.

Upcoming SOLVE Beach Clean-up this Weekend Saturday 28

While out on the beach, this Saturday, picking up the debris and keeping our beaches clean, please remember to identify anything you feel my be tsunami related.  We are still finding items on the beach.  Washed Ashore is collecting all the debris but is especially looking for the fish (laundry) baskets, and the hard white plastic.  Cindy Lippincott is interested in collecting tooth brushes for a project she is working on.  Let me know and I’ll get them from you and to her.  Call me if you find anything of concern that needs immediate attention.

Fawn, CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator


Up Coming NOAA Marine Debris Surveys That Can Use Your Help

Oregon Marine Debris Monitoring Teams

(As New Dates are Reported this Document will be Updated)

Site:          Chapman Beach CoastWatch mile #: 315 MD-MAP ID # 180

Site description: Starting at the Northern most end of the beach 100m south 84318 Ecola State Park Rd, Cannon Beach, OR 97110   45.8956 -123.96361 to 45.9067 -123.96667

Date established: :4/16/14

Team leaders/Points of contact: Robin Risley
Email address:
Affiliation / Organization: CoastWatch
Phone #:503-738-2888

Next Scheduled Surveys:


Site:          Cape Falcon M R: Arch Cape CoastWatch mile #: 306 MD-Map ID #190

Site description: 45.793691, -123.967890 Clatsop Ln, Arch Cape, OR 97102

Date established: 4/15/14

Team leaders/Points of contact: Al Maslowski, Lianne Thompson

Email address:

Affiliation / Organization: Surfrider/CoastWatch
Phone #:262.442.6523

Next Scheduled Surveys:



Site:Neah-Kah-Nie      CoastWatch mile #: 294      MD-Map ID #186

Site description: Manhattan Beach, Rockaway,OR  45.6394-122.057

Date established:  11/17/14

Team leaders/Points of contact: Beth Gienger

Email address:

Affiliation / Organization: Neah-Kah-NieHS/CoastWatch

Phone #:5033552272

Next Scheduled Surveys:

Site:WestWind-Cascade Head MR   CoastWatch mile #: 247 MD-Map ID #187

Site description: Otis, OR 97368  Beach front beginning at path from meeting hall north 100m 45.040529, -123.993732

Date established:  11/21/14

Team leaders/Points of contact: Chris Ledore

Email address:

Affiliation / Organization: WestWind/CoastWatch

Phone #:5419942383

Next Scheduled Surveys:

-March 9th at 9:00 AM

-April 12th at 1:00 PM

-May 10th at 12:00 Noon

-June 7th at 11:00 AM



Site: Otter Rock Marine Reserve  CoastWatch mile #: 225 MD-Map ID #172

Site description: North end of beach, concrete structure is landmark124.06427 44.7611

Date established: 2/11/14

Team leaders/Points of contact: Virginia Tardaewether
Email address:
Affiliation / Organization: Natural Resource Crews Community Services Consortium
Phone #:541-574-2278

Next Scheduled Surveys:

Mar 23rd Marine Debris Survey low tide is 9:26 am -0.6

April 8th Marine Debris Survey-low tide 9:43 am 0.0

May 20 Marine Debris Survey low tide is 8:47 am -1.6



Site:          Otter Rock M R 68th St.   CoastWatch mile #: 221   MD-Map ID #162

Site description: 262-298 NW 68th St, Newport, OR 97365   44.687449, -124.066967

Date established: 2/10/14

Team leaders/Points of contact: Teresa Mealy
Email address:,
Affiliation / Organization: Oregon Coast Aquarium
Phone #:541-867-3474 x 5315

Next Scheduled Surveys:

2/16/25 Monday 4:30pm -.70



Site:          Muriel O Ponsler          CoastWatch mile #: 182   MD-Map ID #78

Site description: Muriel O Ponsler Memorial State Wayside, Florence OR 97439   N 44.171635, -124.11733

Date established: 4/13/13

Team leaders/Points of contact: Jonathan Hornung, Brittany Getz

Email address:,
Affiliation / Organization: Surfrider Foundation Siuslaw Chapter

Phone #:971.255.9596

Next Scheduled Surveys:

-February 28th at 2:00 PM

Site:          Tahkenitch CoastWatch mile #: 158 MD-Map ID #174

Site description: Tahkenitch Creek/Oregon Dunes Overlook Gardiner, OR 97441 43.833815, -124.150017           43.91972   -124.3672 to   42.9239 -124.16178

Date established: 2/12/14

Team leaders/Points of contact: Alexis Wells   Jim Grano

Email address: , Jim Grano <>
Affiliation / Organization: Siuslaw Middle School
Phone #: 541-999-2495

Next Scheduled Surveys:

Site: Seven Devils Wayside CoastWatch mile #: 111   MD-Map ID #176

Site description: North of Two Mile Creek Light patches of vegetation Coos County

OR 43.237373, -124.390906

Date established: 5/23/14

Team leaders/Points of contact: Mike Mueller

Email address:
Affiliation / Organization: CoastWatch Saturday, March 14 @ 7:30am
Phone #: 541-5146587

Next Scheduled Surveys:

Saturday, March 14 @ 7:30am

Site:Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve   CoastWatch mile #: 46  MD-Map ID #11

Site description: Retz Creek

Date established: 05-08-12

Team leaders/Points of contact: Tyson Rasor

Affiliation / Organization: Redfish Rocks Community Team /CoastWatch

Email address:
Phone #: 541-332-0627

Next Scheduled Surveys:

Depending upon tides and schedules.  Currently we are doing them the second Thursday or Friday of the month.

So our next scheduled monitoring activities are on March 12 or 13 and April 9 or 10.

Site:          Gold Beach     CoastWatch mile #: 28 MD-Map ID #58

Site description: Gold Beach OR 42.40536 -124.42589

Date established:7/2/12

Team leaders/Points of contact: Dave Lacey

Affiliation / Organization:: 4H Tsunami Surfers
Email address:
Phone #:

Next Scheduled Surveys:

Striped Beakfish found in crabpot off Port Orford

February 25, 2015

Striped knifejaw caught in crab pot just north of Port Orford. This fish, Oplegnathus fasciatus, is endemic to Japan! This fish is related to the 5 fish that survived the 2 year trip in a Japanese skiff that washed up in Seaside in 2013.

‪#‎stripedbeakfish‬ ‪#‎PortOrford‬‪#‎crabbing‬ ‪#‎Japan‬ ‪#‎fish‬ ‪#‎farfromhome‬striped beakfish2.26.15


As you are cleaning up your beaches, keep in mind all marine debris can be taken to the State Parks for disposal in special marine debris dumpsters. Mary Johnson of Washed Ashore is especially asking for all the laundry baskets and hard white plastic we’ve been finding.  If you have some and can collect it, please  contact her at

Mary Johnson / Community Outreach Director

The Washed Ashore Project Office: 1(541)329-0317
325 2nd St SE, Bandon, OR 97411

found on CoastWatch mile 288

found on CoastWatch mile 288

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 33 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Flotsam or Jetsam…. Someone missing a net?



Found on CW mile 294. Someone missing their net? Nehalem Bay State Parks people stepped up to pull it out. A big THANK YOU to all involved in helping to prevent a larger disaster.
Reported by OMDT  Neah-kah-Nie High.  Great metadata outside their 100m survey site