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Marine Debris: The State of Our Beaches Loren Henry, North Olympic Skills Center Your local beaches: The North Olympic Peninsula is generally an environmentally.

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Presentation on theme: "Marine Debris: The State of Our Beaches Loren Henry, North Olympic Skills Center Your local beaches: The North Olympic Peninsula is generally an environmentally."— Presentation transcript:

1 Marine Debris: The State of Our Beaches Loren Henry, North Olympic Skills Center Your local beaches: The North Olympic Peninsula is generally an environmentally friendly area as evidenced by the presence of agencies and volunteer based organizations such as Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, Olympic National Park, Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), and CoastSavers. However, when you look at the amount of trash on our local beaches, it is clear that there is a problem. Every month since early 2011, the Skills Center Natural Resources Program has done marine debris surveys at beaches near the Elwha River mouth. An astoundingly large amount of debris has been collected from these beaches, which are protected in the strait of Juan de Fuca. Results/Analysis: What can you do? Volunteer: Join COASST and CoastSavers to help survey the local beaches. Awareness: Read the newspaper and check NOAA Debris website ( marinedebris.noaa.gov) to be aware of what is happening on your local beaches. Be conscious of where your waste is ending up. Where does the debris come from? According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 80% of marine debris comes from the land. The rest of the marine debris that washes up on shore is from the ocean. Debris either comes directly from land via storm drains, storms, and littering or is dropped off of ships (purposefully and accidentally). There is a large floating mass of debris in the Pacific Ocean and pieces of the mass are brought to our beaches during storms. That the vast majority of marine debris comes directly from the land shows the large impact that people have when they do not properly dispose of their trash. Tsunami Debris: Tsunami debris from Japan is starting to hit the coasts of the Olympic Peninsula. The estimated time that the majority of debris is predicted to hit our shores is for a few years starting around October If you find any items that could be tsunami debris, report it to NOAA at If you find hazardous or dangerous items, call 911 and/or phone the state Department of Ecology at Acknowledgements: Special thanks to Janet Lamont from the National Marine Sanctuary, Ian Miller from Sea Grant, and Tara Marrow and Dan Lieberman from the North Olympic Peninsula Skills Center. Much of the ‘Dumping’ debris collected on the Strait were pieces of metal from cars and appliances. Those are items that come from people and more people live close to the water on the Strait than on the outer coast, so perhaps this explains the ~5% difference in ‘Dumping’ debris. Also, the stronger waves on the outer coast might bury or carry ‘Dumping’ debris away from the outer coast beaches. The nearly 10 percent difference in ‘Ocean and Waterway Activities’ with the outer coast being higher is probably due to the outer coast’s proximity to the open ocean and ocean-related debris present there. In the Strait, most of the ‘Ocean and Waterway’ debris has to go around Cape Flattery and there are many opportunities to get caught on other beaches along the way. Students (above) collecting marine debris at West Elwha (left) and Dungeness (right) beaches. Mound of fishing nets (left) on East Elwha beach and pieces of rope wrapped around drift wood on Dungeness Beach Map of projected marine debris paths across the Pacific Ocean from the 2011 Japanese Tsunami. Strait of Juan de Fuca data comes from East and West Elwha, Dungeness and Salt Creek beaches from 2011 to Outer Coast data comes from CoastSavers Washington Coastal Cleanup data from 2011 and ~70% Land Based on Outer Coast ~80% Land Based on Strait Coast More ‘Dumping’ Debris in Strait More ‘Ocean and Waterway Activity’ Debris on Coast


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