The 66-foot long section of dock was first sighted off the Oregon coast on Monday, June 4th but was mistaken for a barge. When the 180-ton hunk of metal washed ashore, a stainless-steel plaque on the side of the dock gave Oregon Parks and Recreation Department officials enough information to trace it back to its owner in Japan.
Though removing the gargantuan piece of junk will certainly take some doing, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is particularly concerned with the amount of marine life in and on the dock. Invasive species, like the zebra mussel, have wrought havoc on the Great Lakes marine ecosystem and Oregon wants to minimize the exposure of any non0-native species to the local ecosystem. Of particular concern is “wakame” seaweed, a known invasive species.
When the tsunami struck Japan, it carried some five million tons of debris out to sea. According to NOAA, some 70% of it sunk off the coast of Japan — but that leaves about 1.5 million tons still to contend with. The U.S. west coast is expecting more debris to arrive this summer, though even more is expected to arrive this winter because of the complex system of currents in the Pacific ocean.
No. 1 | A Wild Piece of Tsunami Debris Appears
First sighted a mile off shore on June 4, the 66-foot section of dock was mistaken for a loosed barge. The debris washed ashore on June 5. via Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
No. 2 | Plaque
A plaque showing the name of the owner and the date the dock was installed. via Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
No. 3 | Invasive Seaweed
One of the travelers aboard the dock was Undaria pinnatifida, also called Wakame. A known invasive species, officials in Oregon are concerned that it may impact the local ecosystem. via Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
No. 4 | Pink Barnacle
A pink Japanese acorn barnacle, found inside the dock. via Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
No. 5 | Hitchhiker
More unwanted visitors. via Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
No. 6 | Cleaning
One June 7, a crew of volunteers began removing marine life from the derelict dock. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife hopes to mitigate the number of species introduced by the washed up debris. via Oregon Parks and Recreation Department
No. 7 | More Cleaning
No. 8 | Kill it With Fire
When spades and buckets fail, there's always fire. via Oregon Parks and Recreation Department