- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 14, 2014

CHARLESON, Ore. (AP) - After a wayward dock washed ashore and broke up on Oregon’s south coast, thousands of tiny pieces of plastic foam lined a beach, raising concern about birds eating them and dying.

The foam pellets are so fine and scattered that some will have to be corralled with leaf blowers and vacuumed up, a state official said.

The dock broke loose in a storm and drifted away from a private slip along with two boats that the U.S. Coast Guard eventually recovered.

The dock washed onto Lighthouse Beach near Charleston eight days ago and started breaking into pieces of wood, concrete, rebar and plastic foam, The World newspaper in Coos Bay reported (https://bit.ly/1clw3gH ).

By Monday morning, tiny white pellets were spread across almost the entire length of the beach near the Cape Arago lighthouse. They looked like snow against the green grass.

The foam poses a significant threat to wildlife, said Mike Graybill, a marine biologist and former head of the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve nearby.

“A bird with a gut full of plastic foam can starve to death from this,” he wrote in an email to the World. “Not a nice way to die.”

Parks and Recreation spokesman Chris Havel said Tuesday there have been no reports yet of wildlife dying.

Graybill and dozens of other volunteers took to the beach over the past week to pick up foam, but the wind is blowing the small particles.

“It’s everywhere,” said beach resident Karen Light as she walked along the cliffs Monday, plastic bag in hand.

Work crews from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department began loading large pieces of foam into pickup trucks Monday afternoon.

Havel said help, cleanup equipment and workers are coming from a variety of sources, including the beach cleanup organization SOLV, a nearby state prison, a local sanitation company, the dock’s owner and the Washed Ashore Project, which uses such debris in art aimed at reducing ocean pollution.

Calum Stevenson, ocean shores coordinator for the state agency, said the dock’s owner had the responsibility to tow the dock last week, but recent foul weather and the further breakup of the dock has made that impossible.

Stevenson said the agency won’t be able to use a crane on the cliffs to remove the dock because the cliffs aren’t stable.


Information from: The World, https://www.theworldlink.com

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide