Last summer, a 66-foot section of Japanese dock washed ashore in Oregon. It had drifted intact across the sea, carrying with it a host of invasive plant and animal species that, if allowed to establish a toehold here on the west coast, could have been harmful to native species competing for the same ecological niches. It took blowtorches, lots of workers and over $100,000 to sterilize and dismantle the dock, avoiding an environmental mess that almost no one had seen coming.
It’s happened again. What looks like an identical dock section has washed ashore, this time near Mosquito Creek, just north of the Hoh River. Mosquito Creek was one of our survey sites this past summer and although we found plenty of debris in the area, there was nothing like this.
I remember back in June, Curt Ebbesmeyer telling us that the dock section that washed ashore in Oregon was one of four identical sections that had been swept out to sea by the tsunami. One of them never made it out of Japanese waters, another landed in Oregon. That left two more out there, somewhere. This may or may not turn out to be one of them… only aerial views have been possible so far. If it is, there is a world of possible outcomes.