Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) leads the response to invasive species in our coastal waters. Invasive species pose a serious threat to Oregon’s environment by competing with our own native fish and wildlife for food and habitat.
ODFW recommends the following practices to anyone who discovers marine debris this summer – especially debris that has living organisms on it:
1) If you find marine debris that has living organisms attached, take a photo, if possible, and send photo along with details (location, county, date found, description of item, what you did with the item) to email@example.com. This information will be shared with the marine debris response team.
2) If you are able to move the item, please do your part. Help ODFW clean up the debris and dispose of it as follows:
• If you find small marine debris items—with or without living organisms – dispose of them in a garbage can off the beach or a landfill. If you find debris too large to remove, report it and its location to Oregon Parks and Recreation Department via email, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Never move debris with organisms on it to other bodies of water—an aquarium, pond or estuary. It increases the risk that invasive species will spread.
A lot of marine debris that washes ashore is not from the tsunami: marine debris arrives on Oregon’s shore every day from around the Pacific. Accumulation and disposal of marine debris is an ongoing management issue for OPRD.
Not all marine debris carries invasive species nor does it pose a risk: much of the marine debris that arrives every day has living organisms on it; many of these organisms are native to the open ocean and do not pose a threat to our coastal environment. The items related to the Japan tsunami most likely to carry invasive species are those that were floating in Japan’s waters for extended periods of time before the tsunami—docks, buoys, barges and boats, for example.