Wash. and Ore. Get More Tsunami Debris Cleanup Money

May 20, 2013

Here on the western coast of the U.S., we have a special connection to Japan. The ocean between us keeps bringing remnants from the massive tsunami there. It left more than 16,000 people dead. The debris is expensive to remove and can carry invasive species with it.

  Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced affected states will get another 250-thousand dollars each for cleanup. That’s Washington and Oregon, as well as Alaska, California, and Hawaii.

Mark Stewart with Washington state Marine Debris Task Force says this new chunk of change comes from a $5 million gift from Japan towards cleanup.

Stewart: "Clearly this is a very generous gift I would like to reiterate and something our country our states didn’t ask for. It really shows the outreach that they wanted to do to us in the midst what’s been a terrible tragedy in their country."

About a year ago, a massive dock floated up on the Oregon coast. It weighed 188 tons and brought invasive species with it. Then another one showed up in Washington, right in Olympic National Park, in December. It was slightly smaller, at 185 tons, and also brought invasive species. That one cost nearly $630,000 to remove.

Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio