Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 6:31 PM on Wednesday, May 23, 2012

CACS helps clean up debris

The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies joined Gulf of Alaska Keeper this week for a cleanup of marine debris possibly associated with the Japanese tsunami on Montague Island. Patrick Chandler, CACS special programs coordinator, left earlier this week from Whittier to sail to the island in Prince William Sound. Aerial surveys flown in April showed hundreds of buoys and other high floating debris transported by wind and currents from Japan to Alaska.

Initial current models by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggested tsunami debris would show up in late 2011 or early 2012. Oyster farm buoys, a derelict vessel and soccer balls traced to Japan have already been spotted, including two buoys found in Homer. The Montague Island cleanup will begin removing tsunami and other marine debris and help researchers understand the nature of tsunami marine debris. Marine debris from domestic and foreign sources has been an ongoing problem on Alaska beaches for a long time.

"The tsunami debris was caused by an act of nature, and we must work together to find a solution before long term ecosystem effects are felt," Chandler said.