Oregon Coast Experts on Lookout for Latest Threats: Gas Canisters, Invasive Species
(Oregon Coast) – The Japanese tsunami debris that has shown up in great numbers lately is leaving the coast open to some ecological threats, but so are some domestic-based boats. (Photo above: the tsunami dock at Newport, taken by Terry Morse)
The latest Asian boats found on the central and south Oregon coast were examined by ODFW biologist Steve Rumrill – at least three finds in February. These were deemed of moderate risk by Rumrill, containing mostly gooseneck barnacles that were open ocean species and of no consequence to Oregon ecosystems.
“There were some black and blue mussels, which we don't know what they are yet, and so they've been sent down to southern California to be confirmed by genetic testing,” Rumrill said.
Possible invasive species on the Newport dock (photo Terry Morse)
Another species have been certain kinds of large pink acorn barnacles from Japan, which could threaten this ecosystem.
Others were microorganisms and are still being examined by OSU scientists.
Rumrill also examined the dock from Newport last summer which was positively identified as being debris from the tsunami in Japan that happened in March 2011. The other recent pieces are only presumed to be from the Japanese tsunami at this point.
That dock was deemed a high risk for invasive species, with at least 130 types of possibly harmful sea life clinging to it, and two of them were on a watch list for the entire planet.
Some government agencies are now preparing manuals for organizations like SOLVE and CoastWatch to be able look for and identify invasive species on Oregon beaches, but by and large the biggest policing force for beaches will be the general public.
Those manuals are expected in the coming months. More on this story
Another possible danger that could hit Oregon beaches has nothing to do with tsunami debris from Japan, but rather from boats based out of the U.S.
CoastWatch reports gas canisters of Phosphine have showed up on Washington beaches, and the organization said these could create risks on the Oregon coast as well.
These have not shown up in Oregon yet. But CoastWatch said these canisters, even if relatively empty, can explode because of the way water interacts with the remnants of Phosphone.
The gas is used to rid boats of pests. More on that story here.
Boat at Gleneden Beach in February
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