It was serendipitous that the Siuslaw Chapter of Surfrider Foundation decided to switch their marine debris monitoring site this morning to Muriel Ponsler State Park, a location just a couple of miles north of where the team had previously identified to initiate their monitoring program. Upon arrival, the monitoring team, consisting of Siuslaw Chapter volunteers Lisa Wallace, Al Costa, Jon Tipple and Amber Tucker headed north on the remote beach only to discover a 22ft derelict Japanese vessel right at the low tide line, partially submerged in the surf.
Ironically, the beach site where the vessel was discovered was an area selected by the Surfrider volunteers for a NOAA shoreline monitoring debris program partnership, a project started to better evaluate the status of our beaches and collect data on possible influx of tsunami debris. The team had recently participated in a training and were well prepared to make rapid response notifications to agency leads, collect possible invasive species from the vessels – quick actions that helped lead to the securing and (eventual) removal of the vessel. The boat id was photographed along with the vessels name and sent to the Japanese delegation to determine whether or not it was associated with the 2011 Japanese tsunami event.
All of these actions took place in under an hour, allowing Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department just enough time to get onsite to secure the vessel for removal this evening. Kudos to our local agencies for jumping into action following our volunteers’ discovery! This type of response clearly demonstrates the strong need for tight networks of volunteers on the ground, with appropriate contacts and information to connect with their local agency leads.