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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 17, 2013

13-006-MDNR

Media contact:  Washington State Marine Debris Task Force Information Officer, 855-827-9904.

Washington receives $250,000 allocation to address marine debris

OLYMPIA – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has allocated $250,000 to Washington State to address marine debris issues associated with the 2011 Japan tsunami.

The allocation comes from $5 million in funds provided to NOAA by the government of Japan in 2012 to help with clean up of marine debris from the tsunami. NOAA anticipates providing an initial sum of $250,000 to each of the impacted states (Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California and Hawaii), and will then hold the remaining funds in reserve. Remaining funds will be distributed on a case-by-case basis, as needs arise.

Washington Governor Jay Inslee said: “Our state deeply appreciates Japan’s friendship and the generous gift of $5 million in goodwill to the United States to support tsunami debris response efforts. We continue to offer our condolences for the March 11, 2011, tragedy that claimed so many lives in Japan, and admire the strength and resilience of the Japanese people. Japan is under absolutely no obligation to provide this type of assistance, and the nation's generous gift is yet another demonstration of Japan’s continued contributions to the international community.”

This Japan gift already has been helpful in Washington. It was used to cover a portion of the $628,000 cost for removing a 65-foot dock that washed ashore on a remote Washington shore within the boundaries of both Olympic National Park and NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary in December 2012. The removal was completed in March, 2013.

The funds used to remove the dock are in addition to the $250,000 allocation that the state is receiving now.

The $250,000 allocation of Japan gift funds distributed by NOAA will be used for:

  • Removal and disposal of debris and supplies and equipment to address both large and small debris items. This includes support for tribal governments as well as volunteer cleanup groups that remove small debris items and, as needed, deployment of the Washington Conservation Corps (WCC) to remove large quantities of small debris quickly and effectively.
  • Addressing invasive species concerns.
  • Surveying and monitoring beaches to guide debris removal efforts.

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