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Updated Friday, December 28, 2012 at 12:46 PM

First look at dock from tsunami shows no highly invasive marine species

By Hal Bernton
Seattle Times staff reporter

Nearly 30 species of marine life have been found on a dock that washed up on the Olympic National Park beach, and is suspected to be debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami.

Scientists, however, have not found any of the highly invasive marine species found on another tsunami debris dock that washed up on the Oregon Coast back in June.

"Some of those concerns have been alleviated with the preliminary data we have gotten so far," said Linda Kent, a spokeswoman for the Washington Department of Ecology. "But we are still awaiting for more results back."

High seas and swollen streams have made it tough to reach the dock. But a small crew was able to reach the dock last Friday during low tide. Working quickly, they measured and inspected the dock, and collected samples.

To identify the species, the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife has consulted with experts from the Williams College maritime studies program in Connecticut, Oregon State University and the Los Angeles County Museum.

Allen Pleus, a state aquatic invasive species coordinator, said that the test results show that Japanese coastal organisms continue to survive on marine debris, even after 20 months at sea.

State responders are developing a plan to deal with the dock, and a tracking beacon on the structure will enable them to monitor any movements.

Hal Bernton: 206-464-2581 or hbernton@seattletimes.com


AP
The ocean-drifting dock that washed ashore in an extremely rugged and remote section of coast in the Olympic National Park between LaPush and the mouth of the Hoh River.




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