Fukushima Fallout: What can Seward do?
A report from the American Geophysical Union, Ocean Sciences Section, was released earlier this week. Current findings show that water-borne plume of “radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster may reach the U.S. West Coast within weeks”. The cesium-134 laced fallout has steadily made its way across the Pacific Ocean via the Kuroshio current. Once it reaches North America, the plume will first travel along our Alaska coast and then down to British Columbia. It will continue down to California and out to Hawaii.
As of right now there is little data available to forecast whether this radioactive plume is hazardous enough to cause human or environmental harm to Pacific costal habitats. This data shortage is partially due to federal and state government agencies lacking the initiative to go out and monitor the situation. Dr. Ken Buesseler, a chemical oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute summed up the situation in a recent interview. “The U.S. government should really be doing this kind of work but they’re not. We’ve gone to Washington, D.C. We talked to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), but they don’t do radioactivity work. The Department of Energy has excellent facilities for radioactivity work, but they don’t study the ocean. So the only way this was getting done is if we went out there and did it.”
In mid January of this year Dr. Buesseler launched a citizen fueled research project How Radioactive Is Our Ocean. This project collects marine water samples along the Pacific coast from Alaska to California and analyzes them for the amounts of Fukushima radioisotope contaminants present. The study aims to generate hard data about the concentration and movement of the radioactive plume. This information can then be used to assess the health and environmental risks to communities in the fallout path.
This month Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance (RBCA) joined in a partnership with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity (CMER) to be part of this data collection project. So far it is one of three Alaska locations along with Kodiak Island and the Gulf of Alaska to do so. The project will comprise of three stages. First a five gallon water sample will be collected in or around Resurrection Bay. It will then be shipped to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts. There it will be analyzed for traces of Cesium-134 and Cesium-137. Results of the analysis will be posted on the program website along with the results of other participating locations.
Since this is an independent research project it is not getting any funding from government entities. The costs of sample shipping and analysis are paid by raising money from local communities and citizens who are interested in getting involved in finding out answers about the effects of the Fukushima radiation leaks. RBCA has already donated one hundred dollars to help cover the total project cost of six hundred dollars. In turn, CMER set up a donation link to raise the remainder of the necessary funding. If you are concerned and interested in the well being of our marine ecosystem here in Seward then please visit the project site listed below. It has lots of useful and interesting information about the project and how radiation potentially interacts with us and the natural environment. There is also a world map with posted results. If you like what you see there, please consider donating to the Seward, Alaska link and help get this project under way. All donations made will go directly to CMER and help complete the funding of the Seward branch project. These donations are fully tax deductible.
As a thriving sea side Alaska community we all have a stake in the well being of our ocean and all living things in it. In order to sustain this well being, we need accurate information about potential hazards to be able to take a sound course of action when necessary. This project presents an opportunity for each of us to do our part to help keep our little bit of Alaska healthy and beautiful. We all need to help out and not wait for someone else to do it for us.
By: J. Bukac
Project link: http://www.ourradioactiveocean.org/
Seward, AK. Donation link: http://ourradioactiveocean.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1092921&supid=402012480
School Yard Habitat Project: Seward High School Mural
Check out this Seward City News article about the good work of local mural artists.
25 Years After Exxon Valdez: Keeping Our Waters Safe
Brought to you by Prince William Sound Regional Citizens Advisory Council
When: Thursday, March 6, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Where: Alaska SeaLife Center, Bear Mt. Conference Room
Free presentation, all welcome!
Please see flyer for further details. Also visit the Council's website at: http://www.bit.ly/25YearsAfterEVOS
Here's Alaska's easiest way to support RBCA.
NPS video: Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance: Perspectives on Marine Debris
Beach cleanup volunteers offer individual perspectives on marine debris. Interviews were conducted in 2013 on Montague Island.
10th Annual beach and watershed cleanup Saturday May 17th
Vacancy Announcement: School Yard Habitat Program Coordinator
Here's a great part time position that will significantly enhance the interpretaion of habitat that surrounds the three schools in Seward.
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RBCA Closes Office But Our Conservation Effort Continues
Pay rent or use that money to promote significant conservation projects? We chose the latter.
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Schoolyard Habitat - Elementary School Native Plant Garden/Park was Planted Summer 2013!
Many volunteer hours and dirty hands produced a wonderful new landscape around the Seward Elelmentary School.
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Community media projector
The projector plays DVDs directly - no laptop required. It also plays anything on your laptop, PC or Mac with the appropriate connectors (which are provided). Its available to any community group in Seward. Just ask.
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Maybe you spend a lot of time in the harbor. Maybe you'd like to share your experience and commitment to proper environmental practices! Dockwalkers educate about clean boating, thus improving the recreation experience in Alaska while helping to preserve its precious wildlife habitat and water quality.
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Our watershed program
Surveying local streams for addition to the state’s Anadromous Waters Catalog
Listing in the Catalog provides streams an additional layer of protection. read more
Scheffler Creek streambank restoration project
RBCA recently installed two salmon viewing platforms and rehabilitated the stream bank. read more -
RBCA helps with fish passage culvert replacement
In adequate culverts can prevent both spawning and juvenile salmon from swimming through them and can close off miles of otherwise good fish habitat. read more-
Stewart property, floodplain lands purchase is final
This land sale will protect salmon habitat in Salmon Creek. read more
Storm drain stenciling reminds residents and visitors where surface runoff ends up. read more
RBCA’s weed work summary
Invasive plants can have significant impacts to fish and wildlife habitat if not controlled. read more.