How to Report Tsunami Debris

In general, beach users and local governments, including law enforcement and emergency management departments, should report large debris that appears to be related to the tsunami to DisasterDebris@noaa.gov.

If you find debris that may be infested with aquatic invasive species, please follow these steps:

Take photograph(s) of the whole debris object with something to show scale (person, hand, coin, etc.)
Take photograph(s) of the attached organisms with something to show scale (hand, keys, coin, etc.).
If possible and can be done safely, remove the debris from the beach or move it above the high tide line.
Note the location, time, and access points so that responders can find the debris later.

Report this information to WDFW’s
Aquatic Invasive Species Unit at:

1-360-902-2700
or complete the
Online Invasive Species Reporting Form

WDFW will forward these reports to DisasterDebris@noaa.gov so you don't need to report on both sites.

Tsunami debris reaching Washington’s coastline
Debris has begun reaching Washington's ocean beaches from the tsunami that accompanied the devastating earthquake in Japan in March 2011. State and local agencies are working together to respond to the problems and risks associated with marine debris from the tsunami, and there are several ways the public can help. See the box at right for information on how to report tsunami-related debris.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife’s role
State law gives WDFW specific responsibilities that relate to marine debris.

Aquatic invasive species
Aquatic invasive species can pose significant environmental and economic risks if they become established on Washington's coastline. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is the state agency with lead responsibility for responding to reports of marine debris that may be contaminated with invasive species. Department personnel work with other state and local agencies to respond rapidly when they receive reports of invasive species that may pose recreational or economic risks.

Rapid response activities
The following materials provide basic summaries of response activities on some of the large confirmed Japanese tsunami marine debris that came ashore in Washington State including:

Permitting for marine debris removal
State law directs WDFW to preserve and protect fish and shellfish resources. To support that effort, the department issues Hydraulic Project Approvals to permit activity that changes or obstructs and bed or flow of coastal waters.

We have issued an emergency permit to the Emergency Management Division of the state Military Department for the removal of large, heavy tsunami-related debris such as fishing boats, buildings, docks, cars and other material that must be dismantled or for which heavy equipment will be required for removal.

Beach users and local governments, including law enforcement and emergency management departments, should report large debris that appears to be related to the tsunami to DisasterDebris@noaa.gov . Several state agencies are working together to ensure the safe and prompt removal of large debris without requiring additional permits.

For More Information
Tsunami-related debris response and removal is a multi-agency endeavor coordinating state, federal, tribal and local area responders.