COQUILLE, Ore. (Oregon) -- Earlier this year, debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami started showing up on the Oregon coastline and experts are saying they're only expecting more in the coming months.
That's why Governor Kitzhaber sent his Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris Task Force (JTMD) on a public meeting road show.
The tour started yesterday and made stops in each county along the Oregon Coast. They weren’t able to make it to Astoria, but plan to have a public meeting there next week.
The Chair of the JTMD, Brigadier General Mike Caldwell, says, "There is a tremendous amount of debris that's somewhere in the Pacific Ocean." They want to make sure Oregonians know how to respond to it if, and when, more heads our way.
Representatives from the Oregon Departments of Parks and Recreation, Fish and Wildlife and Environmental Quality (DEQ) all spoke at the meeting. There were also representatives from the non-governmental volunteer organizations Surfrider and SOLVE.
They spoke about debris clean-up and issues such as funding and invasive species. The main goal is to make their services and information known.
"The biggest message the Parks Department would like to get out is to let people know about the 211 line and that they can get additional information at pretty much any coastal park office," says Claude Crocker of the Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation.
Soon there should also be plastic bags at those park offices for people who want to pick up debris.
Other than the large dock that washed to shore in June, there have only been small items found. Aerosol and other pressurized cans are the most dangerous things found so far. The JTMD urges people to not touch those sort of items. Make sure to call 211 to report anything that looks dangerous.
The task force also wanted to clear up some myths about the debris. There shouldn't be any body parts that make it to all the way to Oregon. Also, any radiation on the debris is highly unlikely.
Experts say the debris Oregon’s seen so far has been mainly brought in by the wind. With changing tides in the winter, they expect more under-the-surface debris to head this way.