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NOAA Grants Money to Assist With Tsunami Debris
NOAA’s Marine Debris Program will distribute $250,000 in grants to assist the five states along the country’s west coast that are expected to be impacted by tsunami debris from last year’s disaster in Japan.
Funds will be used to remove stuff such as the 132-ton concrete slab teeming with life that broke off from a Japanese dock and washed up on an Oregonian shore almost a month ago.
The Japanese government reported that the March 2011 tsunami washed away an approximate 5 million tons of debris into the Pacific and of that astronomical amount about 70 percent sank. NOAA and the Japanese were kind enough to do the math for us and estimate 1.5 million tons remain floating a-sea in the North Pacific in an area “roughly three times the size of the lower 48 states.” However, this is not a concentrated amount of stuff: it’s likely been scattered and it will arrive on coasts north of the Main Hawaiian Islands and east of Midway Atoll over many years.
Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii will receive up to $50,000 apiece to use for cleaning whatever detritus happens to wash ashore. NOAA says funds could be awarded as early as the end of this month.
“We continue to actively work with the states and other Federal agencies to address the challenges associated with tsunami debris," noted Nancy Wallace, director of NOAA's marine debris program via a statement last week. "We are pleased to be able to contribute funds to support states' efforts to respond to and remove marine debris, including disposal fees, cleanup supplies, and dumpster rentals. We remain dedicated to continuing our work with the states and others to address contingency planning, monitoring and research."
Scientists with the marine debris program were hard at work in the Northern Hawaiian Islands, including the Midway Atoll, where they collected 50 metric tons of trash (mostly fishing gear and plastics) from the water and shorelines as part of an annual clean-up effort. The team specifically looked for tsunami debris and found no indication anything collected was from Japan.
“While we did not find debris with an obvious connection to last year’s tsunami, this mission was a great opportunity to leverage activities that had already been planned and see what we might find,” said Carey Morishige, Pacific Islands regional coordinator for the marine debris program. “It’s also an important reminder that marine debris is an everyday problem, especially here in the Pacific.”
NOAA has earmarked some items collected to provide electricity through Hawaii’s Nets to Energy Program. The program has harnessed more than 730 metric tons of nets to create electricity since 2002. This is enough to power almost 350 Hawaiian homes for a year.
NOAA reports that as of July 12th they have received 529 reports and only 10 have been linked to the tsunami.
1944: Camano Class Light Cargo Ship was laid down for the US Army as FS-289 at Wheeler Shipbuilding in Whitestone, NY.
1955 - 1963: Used as a cargo supply ship for the Texas Towers, a network of advanced radar stations located off the Eastern Seaboard. In 1957, Capt. Sixto Mangual was commander of the AKL-17 and in 1961 it was rechristened the USNS New Bedford. The New Bedford, sailing out of State Pier, was keeping vigil when Texas Tower No. 4 callapsed off the New Jersey coast during a January 1961 nor'easter.
2006: Design of the Tesla Turbine began on June 11, 2006. The Sea Bird was sold by Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service for commercial service.