Tsunami Debris Surveys

Citizen Science Opportunity

November 18, 2014


marine debrisAs you know, in 2011 a 9.0 magnitude earthquake hit the coast of Japan, causing tsunami waves up to 133 feet high to crash onshore. Almost 16,000 people were killed in this event, a human tragedy on a massive scale. The devastation also caused in an estimated 1.5 million tons of buoyant debris to wash into the Pacific Ocean currents, and a portion of that debris will end up on the U.S. west coast.  NOAA and the California Coastal Commission are organizing a west coast wide monitoring program to assess the impact to our shore.

It is important to note that the tsunami washed this debris out to sea days before the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant released radioactive waters into the ocean, so it is considered highly unlikely that any of the debris that washes up in California will be radioactive.

As the local partner, the Noyo Center will be conducting regular beach surveys in early December.  We are now recruiting volunteers to conduct surveys at the following beaches, at a minimum:

  • Westport
  • Ten Mile
  • Jug Handle
  • Caspar
  • Navarro
  • Elk

It is our hope that we can collaborate with other organizations already conducting beach surveys for other purposes to increase our effective reach in Mendocino County.  Please join Noyo Center staff and volunteers for the next survey:

When:  Saturday, April 22nd, 9am-12noon

For more information on tsunami debris, please visit our tsunami debris blog,or the Coastal Commission and NOAA websites.

Contact: Sarah Grimes, Tsunami Debris Coordinator

 [email protected]

(707) 813-7925

ca coastal commission