Tsunami Debris Dock Decontaminated; Removal Poses Next Challenge

Jan 7, 2013

State and federal biologists say they are confident they have minimized the invasive species threat posed by a derelict dock that washed ashore last month in Olympic National Park. The concrete and steel dock appears to have drifted across the Pacific Ocean after last year's tsunami in Japan. But correspondent Tom Banse reports the story is not over yet.

On a return visit this week, the tsunami debris crew found the dock has lodged higher on shore.
Credit Photo courtesy Wash. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

A tsunami debris response team hiked in with scrapers, ratchets and a shovel to a remote Olympic coast beach. National Park Service ecologist Steven Fradkin says the team spent two days cleaning off all the visible sea life clinging to the huge dock, including Japanese seaweeds and barnacles.

Fradkin: "From a marine invasive species perspective, I think that we have largely nullified the invasive threat from the dock."

Fradkin says the park service is determined to remove the derelict dock from its resting place on a scenic, wilderness beach. It won't be possible to slice it up and haul away the pieces by truck as was done with another tsunami debris dock near Newport, Oregon last summer. Fradkin says the options here include towing the hulk to sea with a tugboat or lifting out chopped-up pieces by helicopter.

Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio