Note: This refers to PREVIOUS SL event, held in October 2012
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Keynote - Marine Debris:  The Global Problem and its Local Impact

On March 11, 2011, a 9.0 earthquake triggered a devastating tsunami that struck Japan. As the tsunami receded from land, it washed much of what was in the inundation zone into the ocean. Heavier materials that were carried away sank closer to shore, while buoyant items went on to make up the debris fields captured by satellite imagery and aerial photos of the waters surrounding Japan. Today, debris fields are no longer visible. Winds and ocean currents scattered items in the North Pacific Ocean; some of the debris has reached North America, and will continue to arrive intermittently in a scattered manner over months, possibly years.    NOAA and its partners have been leading efforts to collect data, assess the debris and possible impacts, and develop response plans to protect public safety and our natural resources and coasts. Modeling, satellite detection, shoreline survey and reports of suspected tsunami debris sightings at sea and on land contribute to our knowledge of tsunami debris movement and deposition. Current planning followed by removal activities is addressing tsunami debris items found on the North American shoreline. This presentation will provide a brief overview of the devastating tsunami, the marine debris it created, and discuss the response activities conducted by NOAA and its partners.

By Nir Barnea

West Coast Coordinator, NOAA Marine Debris Program

Nir Barnea was born and raised on a kibbutz in northern Israel, and came to the U.S. in 1985. He joined NOAA in 1992, and has served as the NOAA Marine Debris Program West Coast Coordinator since 2005. In that role he facilitates and supports the activities of NOAA-funded marine debris projects in the region and works with local, state, and federal agencies and non-governmental organizations on a variety of projects to identify, assess, and remove marine debris. Nir also supports NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration work on oil and chemical spills, helped clean up the Pribilof Islands in Alaska, and is the vice chair of the West Coast Governors Alliance Marine Debris Team. Nir holds a BS in Microbiology (1989) and an MS in Environmental Health (1991) both from the UW.