Category Archives: Uncategorized

Still Looking for NOAA Monitoring Team Members

We currently have teams organized along the coast but could always use more help.  You know the old adage ‘ many hands make light work’.  The team commitment is to meet once a month for two years.  With our very busy lives, not everyone can make it to the beach each month, therefore, the larger the team, the faster the monitoring is done and scheduled surveys can be completed.  Our amazing teams are filled with members from Surfrider, CoastWatch, Oregon Coast Aquarium Volunteers, Conservation Services Consortium, high school and middle school teachers and students, and concerned citizens.  To learn how you can help, contact Fawn at 541.270.0027 or


This float was found earlier this month by a beach comber in Cannon Beach



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)

Where Are We Now? Tsunami Debris Three Years Later

By: Nancy Wallace, Marine Debris Program Director

On these major commemorative days, we’re often asked the big questions. “What is happening with the debris?” and “Was this what you expected?” Here’s what we know:

Debris from the tsunami is still washing ashore in the United States, but the amount is less than what we saw in previous years. Its arrival is widely scattered and unpredictable, in terms of what, when, and where, as it has been since the first piece of confirmed debris – a 170-foot squid vessel – showed up off the coast of British Columbia in March 2012.

We expect this pattern to continue, until the debris eventually blends in with the marine debris that plagues our ocean every day. The remaining tsunami debris is not in a mass, so the dispersed items could swirl around with currents for years before reaching land. Or, they could sink, as much of it has likely already done.
Over the past several years, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and British Columbia have all seen varying amounts and types of debris gradually wash ashore. In some cases, near-identical pieces of debris washed up in different states months apart. NOAA has received nearly 2,000 debris reports to our email address, and as of today, we have confirmed 41 of those items to be tsunami debris, including vessels, buoys, sports balls, signs, canisters, floating piers, and a motorcycle in a shipping container. While there is likely much more tsunami debris out there, it’s very difficult to tell where debris comes from without unique identifying information. If a piece of debris is suspected to be from the tsunami, NOAA works with the Japanese government to identify these items if possible.

As to whether or not this is what we expected, it’s safe to say yes – for the most part. I wrote two years ago, when we were first faced with this unprecedented situation, that we believed highly buoyant items would be the most likely to survive a trip across the ocean. That’s what we have seen. Since we did not know exactly what those items were or where they were, we prepared for all scenarios along with our state partners.

To continue reading visit

Rapid Response Help Needed!

OMDT Seeks Volunteers to Clean Up Broken Dock near Lighthouse Beach

Large pieces of a broken dock washed ashore near Lighthouse Beach around January 6th. Due to the recent storms and weathering, the dock has begun to break up into thousands of pieces of polystyrene foam which have spread across the beach, from Cape Arago to Bastendorff Beach. Volunteers are needed every day to help pick up the debris as it poses a significant threat to wildlife. Volunteers will work with the Coos Bay Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and OPRD on this effort.

If you would like to help, please contact:
Scott Gregory
Surfrider Coos Bay Chapter

Volunteers will be directed where to pick up supplies and where to dump the debris. Contact Scott if you have any questions.


Deadline for Marine Debris Monitoring Postponed


Feeling the crunch of the holidays and haven’t had time to get your team together?  Not a problem, the deadline for submitting applications has been postponed until January 7, 2014.  For any questions please feel free to contact Fawn Custer

Volunteers Needed at Debris Reponse Cleanups, Nov. 2 & 3


As we move into the fall and winter months, marine debris also moves onto our beloved beaches and coastline. In response to a couple remote debris accumulation areas identified by Oregon Parks and Recreation beach rangers, the Oregon Marine Debris Team is springing into action this weekend to remove this debris – and we need YOUR help!

Saturday, November 2nd Cleanups:

Cape Lookout/Netarts Spit Cleanup

  • When: 8:30-11:30am
  • Where: Meet at Cape Lookout Day Use Area to be transported back and forth to the site
  • Bring: Gloves and dress for weather
  • Description: This is a high debris area that requires a lot of walking and aggragating debris for vehicle transport for OPRD.
  • Contact: for more information and questions.

Jump-off-Joe Beach Fire Cleanup

  • When: 10am-1pm
  • Where: Meet at Jump-off-Joe access point at 11th and Coast St in Newport
  • Description: Only a handful of volunteers needed. Hosted by the Newport Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and the Oregon Coast Community College Student Government.
  • Bring: Supplies provided. Bring a bucket and gloves if you have them.
  • Contact: See for more information

Sunday, November 3rd Cleanup:

Tahkenitch/Siltcoos Beach Cleanup

  • When: 11am-2pm
  • Where: Meet at Waxmyrtle Campground gate, ~8 miles south of Florence. Turn west for Siltcoos Recreation Area. Follow road over first bridge and turn left for second bridge crossing. Park immediately at campground entrance to be shuttle to the beach
  • Description: Hosted by the Siuslaw Chapter of Surfrider Foundation and OPRD
  • Bring: Gloves, dress for weather. Bags, snacks and water provided.
  • Contact: for more information.


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

The Japanese Tsunami: Before, During and After, September 11th and 12th.

Lecture and Slideshow presentation Event—The Japanese Tsunami: Before, During and After, September 11th and 12th.
Survivors of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake describe their personal experiences and responses to the disaster. Tanaka Kensaku, a native of Japan will give two talks and slideshow presentations on the tsunami and its continuing effects, which has special relevance for anyone living in the coastal tsunami zone. Further information about this program is available through Jeneé Pearce, with the City of Cannon Beach and SOLVE, at 503-436-9292 and Jeneé

Cannon Beach City Hall
163 E. Gower St., CB
Council Chambers
Wednesday, September 11, 2013
@ 4:00 p.m.

The Seaside Public Library
1131 Broadway St, Seaside, OR
In the Community Room
Thursday, September 12th
@ 6:00 p.m.

Coastwatch hosts Netarts Spit cleanup Saturday

“Volunteers are invited to pitch in to help remove marine debris from Netarts Spit. Debris is accumulating on the spit, particularly on the bay side. The CoastWatch program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition is sponsoring a cleanup this Saturday, Aug. 24, beginning at noon.”

Read More about this cleanup here

“For information, contact Fawn Custer at (541) 270-0027, The organizers are hoping to find a second boat owner willing to help ferry volunteers across to the spit. If able to assist with this, contact Fawn Custer.”

Washed Away: Japanese Tsunami Debris

“All eyes were on the backpack. The principal of Takata High School and a secretary both watched curiously as I pulled the bag onto the table.
They’d been told I had something to share. But weren’t sure what.

It had to be important. We’d come all the way from Portland, Oregon and a Japanese TV crew happened to be there as well.


Credit to for picture

Credit to for picture

As I opened the backpack and pulled out a brightly colored ball, the principal started to smile. He had a nervous giggle as he grabbed the ball to take a closer look. He turned it looking for a name. And there he found it in Japanese writing: ‘Takata High School.'”

Read more on this story and others like it here!