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New video: ‘Tsunami Quests’ help coastal residents and visitors prepare for major earthquake and tsunami

Posted by: | June 8, 2017 Comments Off on New video: ‘Tsunami Quests’ help coastal residents and visitors prepare for major earthquake and tsunami |

Scientists say there is a 30 percent chance of a massive earthquake and tsunami striking the Pacific Northwest in the next 50 years. One way coastal residents and visitors can prepare for such a disaster is to learn evacuation routes.

A new video from Oregon Sea Grant, “Tsunami Quests,” reveals how the program is helping coastal residents and visitors prepare. One way it does this is by teaching people how to create and use self-guided evacuation routes modeled after a treasure hunt.

In these hunts, which are called Quests, walkers follow a map and a series of educational clues about their surroundings to reach higher ground. At the end, they find a hidden box that contains a guest book and rubber stamp to mark their accomplishment. The aim is that by exploring these routes for fun in their free time, residents and visitors will later know where to flee in the event of a tsunami.

Background

In February 2016, Oregon Sea Grant (OSG) organized a series of workshops at the Hatfield Marine Science Center (HMSC) in Newport, Oregon, to bring educators, state parks personnel, researchers and emergency management experts together to discuss how communities can prepare for tsunamis. Participants also learned how to help students create a tsunami Quest.

In the spring of 2016, workshop attendees imparted their knowledge to 120 Newport seventh-graders at HMSC. The students listened to presentations from engineers and geologists, studied tsunami inundation maps and interpretive signs, calculated how fast they would need to walk to escape, and learned about soil liquefaction. They also walked an evacuation route that starts at the OSG-operated Visitor Center at HMSC, which is expected to be flooded during a tsunami, and ends about a mile away, atop Safe Haven Hill. The students created a Tsunami Quest for that route and tested the activity on community members and two classes of fifth-graders in Newport. Their Quest is online (“HMSC Tsunami Quest,” http://bit.ly/2s0O1YI). To date, nearly 300 people have walked the HMSC Tsunami Quest.

Partners

Partners in the Tsunami Quests effort include the Lincoln County School District, Oregon State University, Oregon Parks and Recreation, Hatfield Marine Science Center, the Gray Family Foundation, and the OSUEA Hoecker Award.

Watch

You can watch the three-minute video here:

Tsunami Quests was filmed and edited by Vanessa Cholewczynski and Tiffany Woods.

under: beach safety, coastal hazards, courses, classes and workshops, earthquake, environment, events, free-choice learning, HMSC Visitor Center, kids, marine education, marine safety, news, Oregon Sea Grant, Oregon State University, outreach and engagement, tsunami, videos
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Cascadia earthquake: Finding the sweet spot between fear and action

Posted by: | July 23, 2015 Comments Off on Cascadia earthquake: Finding the sweet spot between fear and action |

A recent national news article suggesting that everything in Oregon west of Interstate-5 “would be toast” in a major Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake certainly drew attention to the seismic reality facing the Pacific Northwest.

The concern, though, is that people are focusing on the most draconian or extreme scenarios, experts say, which can lead to a sense of fatalism. The reaction illustrates the state of earthquake and tsunami preparedness – or lack thereof – in the United States, said Patrick Corcoran, Oregon Sea Grant’s Astoria-based coastal hazards specialist, who works with coastal communities on disaster preparedness.

It’s a matter of feast or famine.

“The Cascadia Subduction Zone has shifted from a science project to a social studies project,” Corcoran said. “We need to find a sweet spot between fear and action. What I try to do is temper the tendency of people to toggle between the poles of ‘it won’t happen here’ and ‘it will be so bad that there’s no use worrying about it.’”

(Read the entire story from OSU News & Research Communication to learn how Corcoran and other OSU faculty are working with the state and coastal communities to prepare people, communities and infrastructure for a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami).

Learn more

Earthquake and tsunami preparedness material from Oregon Sea Grant:

under: beach safety, coastal hazards, earthquake, Extension, outreach and engagement, tsunami

Oregon Sea Grant video wins APEX Award

Posted by: | June 5, 2015 Comments Off on Oregon Sea Grant video wins APEX Award |
Oregon Sea Grant has won an APEX Award of Excellence in the Electronic 2015 APEX logoMedia-Video category for its online video, Responding to the Risks of Marine Debris: Derelict Fishing Gear.
According to APEX, there were 165 entries in the Electronic Media category, and awards were based on “excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the success of the entry…in achieving overall communication effectiveness and excellence.”
Responding to the Risks of Marine Debris is a production of Oregon Sea Grant in cooperation with NOAA West and the west coast Sea Grant programs. You can view the six-minute video at https://vimeo.com/92878422
under: awards, beach safety, ecology, environment, marine debris, marine safety, NOAA, Oregon Sea Grant, videos, waterfronts
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New app will help coastal Oregon prepare for tsunami

Posted by: | November 17, 2014 Comments Off on New app will help coastal Oregon prepare for tsunami |
Hatfield Marine Science Center employees practice their tsunami evacuation route (photo courtesy of Maryann Bozza, HMSC)

Hatfield Marine Science Center employees practice their tsunami evacuation route (photo courtesy of Maryann Bozza, HMSC)

Tsunami preparedness will soon be coming to a smartphone near you. A team of researchers at Oregon State University is developing an app for coastal residents to plan – and test – evacuation routes to use during an earthquake and tsunami.

Participants will use the app to conduct actual evacuation drills and compare their response time to the speed of an incoming wave.

“People will be able to download the app, plug in their start points and end points, and be able to track that like a GPS,” explained Lori Cramer, a sociologist and principal investigator on the project, which is funded by Oregon Sea Grant. “They will be able to do it themselves to see how quickly they can get to wherever they are going and try alternate routes.”

Social media was underutilized during the Fukushima disaster in Japan, but Cramer hopes that with proper planning this app will help save lives when a disaster does hit Oregon. Studies of seismic risk in the Pacific Northwest have estimated that the Oregon coast has a more than one-in-three chance of experiencing a major, arthquake, capable of generating a dangerous tsunami, within the next 50 years.

Along with the app, the team plans workshops on the coast to discuss evacuation routes and preparedness. After residents practice an evacuation using the app, they will complete an anonymous survey to help the researchers compare trends and disaster preparedness between coastal cities.

“The app can be used to relay evacuation route and time data to a central archive,” explained Haizhong Wang, a civil engineer and collaborator on the project. “These data are used by city managers and the research team to guide future development of evacuation simulation models with thousands of people.”

To use the app, participants create a profile including age, gender and zip code—to distinguish residents from tourists—and head out for high ground. Hitting the “start” button signals an earthquake, and all of their decisions afterwards are of interest to the researchers.

“One thing that we are interested in is ‘milling time,’ or how long it takes a person to decide to evacuate after feeling the earthquake,” Cramer said.

Throughout the dry run, participants will actually be able to monitor how close the imaginary wave is to their current location.

“We have pre-computed tsunami inundation for several areas, and we are working on Newport now,” said Dan Cox, an engineer and professor with OSU’s School of Civil and Construction Engineering who is creating the wave models for the project. “You can use this pre-computed inundation to get an idea of where the water will be at any given time.”

While the app is being developed, the team continues to conduct evacuation drills with various “at-risk” groups—including the elderly, disabled and the poor— along the coast. Cramer says that these trainings can provide hope to people who might not evacuate otherwise.

“There was one elderly lady who hadn’t planned on leaving,” Cramer said. “But she did the drill and she found out that she could make it to the evacuation point in the time period, and that changed her whole outlook on life.”

Once the app is released, the research team plans to create an interactive display at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport for visitors to learn about the technology and provide feedback. Ultimately, the researchers hope to use social media and education to help make coastal communities more resilient and better prepared for future disasters.

Learn more

… about Oregon Sea Grant’s work on tsunami preparedness on the Oregon coast

under: beach safety, coastal hazards, earthquake, mobile applications, technology, tsunami

“Stranded” seal pups probably aren’t

Posted by: | May 23, 2014 Comments Off on “Stranded” seal pups probably aren’t |

Seal pups rest on shoreNEWPORT – Around this time each year, many baby seal pups find their way to Oregon’s beaches … and each year, well-meaning people  put the young animals in danger by trying to “rescue” them.

The word from the experts: Keep your distance, keep your dogs on leash – and whatever you do, don’t touch. The pups are simply waiting for their mothers to return from hunting for food.

“It is perfectly normal for seal pups to be left alone on the beach in the spring,” said Oregon State University biologist Jim, who coordinates the statewide Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network headquartered at OSU’s Marine Mammal Institute at the Hatfield Marine Science Center. “Newborn pups typically spend several hours each day waiting for their mothers to reunite with them.”

“Adult female seals spend most of their time in the water, hunting for food, and only come ashore periodically to nurse their pups,” Rice said. “But the mothers are wary of people and unlikely to rejoin a pup if there is activity nearby.”

Rice urges beach goers to stay at least 50 yards from any pup they spot on the beach – and to make sure children and dogs do, too. Approaching the young animals can cause life-threatening stress, and will almost certainly keep their mothers from rejoining them.

Harbor seals on the Oregon coast give birth from March through June, with a peak in mid-May, and authorities have grown accustomed to reports of “stranded” baby seals as more summer visitors come to the coast. Such reports are unnecessary unless an animal appears to be injured or in distress – or if you spot someone bothering or harassing the animals. In such cases, Rice urges a call to the Oregon State Police at 1-800-452-7888, Rice said.

Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, people harrassing these animals – even out of a misplaced desire to help – risk being fined. The federal Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits interference with seal pups and other marine mammals on the beach.

Learn more:

under: beach safety, marine animals, marine mammals, Posters

Groups sought to monitor marine debris on Oregon coast

Posted by: | October 31, 2013 Comments Off on Groups sought to monitor marine debris on Oregon coast |

The Oregon Marine Debris Team is seeking volunteer groups to participate in a community grants program which will support monitoring for marine debris. Up to 10 local groups (either existing organizations or teams that unite for this effort) will be awarded $500 to assist them in regularly monitoring and submitting reports on marine debris that washes up at selected sites on the Oregon coast.

The project is part of an ongoing research program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Participating groups, using NOAA protocols, will be expected to gather data at regular monthly intervals on the types and amounts of marine debris reaching the shore at 10 small monitoring sites from the mouth of the Columbia River south to near the California border.  Once they’ve collected the information, volunteers will be expected to upload it to a website for NOAA analysis.

The team hopes to have one monitoring site within each of 10 regions, spanning the length of the coast; preference will be given to proposals for more remote areas with less human traffic and where it is less likely that litter will be picked up between monitoring sessions.

For information about how to submit a proposal, visit the OMDT blog.

No prior experience is necessary. Training and support will be provided by the OMDT, a partnership among four non-profit organizations—Surfrider, SOLVE, Washed Ashore and the CoastWatch program of the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition—with the cooperation of Oregon Sea Grant.

 

 

under: beach safety, coastal hazards, grants, marine debris, tsunami

Two new curricula available from Oregon Sea Grant

Posted by: | August 8, 2013 Comments Off on Two new curricula available from Oregon Sea Grant |

Tsunami evacuation signOregon Sea Grant has recently published two new curricula. Both are available online.

Tsunami STEM Curriculum–uses Ocean Science Systems as pathways to stimulate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) learning to guide students in decision making. Students immerse into STEM through understanding the causes and consequences of a natural disaster such as a tsunami or bioinvasion, learn about their risks, and explore choices and consequences of responses to and preparation for tsunami hazards. http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/sgpubs/e-13-003

You’re Excluded! An Activity Exploring Technology Changes in the Trawl Industry–includes objectives, method, materials needed, information on trawl fishing, pictures of nets, procedures, activity options, and discussion questions. It also includes instructions on incorporating engineering designs standards for kindergarten through high school. http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/sgpubs/e-13-002-trawl-industry-curriculum

under: beach safety, climate, coastal hazards, courses, classes and workshops, fishermen, free-choice learning, k-12 teachers, marine education, publications, science education, tsunami

Be Aware – and Beware – of Rip Currents

Posted by: | June 3, 2013 Comments Off on Be Aware – and Beware – of Rip Currents |

It’s National Rip Current Awareness Week, and with the start of summer, a good time to remember that Oregon’s beautiful ocean can be a dangerous place if you don’t pay attention. Check out this short Oregon Sea Grant video about rip currents:

Beach Safety Basics: Rip Currents

Learn more:

under: beach safety, NOAA, Oregon Sea Grant, videos

Japan Times: Washed-up dock stirs awareness in Oregon

Posted by: | March 20, 2013 Comments Off on Japan Times: Washed-up dock stirs awareness in Oregon |

NEWPORT  – When a massive dock drifted across the Pacific Ocean from Japan to the U.S. West Coast after the Great East Japan Earthquake, it brought along more than the invasive “wakame” kelp and mussels that were attached to it. The city of Newport, Oregon, where the docked beached itself last June, noticed the high interest it was generating and put it to good use.

Oregon Sea Grant’s Mark Farley, manager of the Visitor Center at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, describes how a piece of a 20-meter, 100-ton concrete and metal dock, ripped from its moorings in Misawa, Japan by the devasting 2011 earthquake and tsunami and deposited over a year later on the Oregon coast, is serving as a tool to educate visitors and coastal residents about our own risks of disaster.

Read the complete story in the KYODO/Japan Times

under: beach safety, coastal hazards, earthquake, HMSC Visitor Center, Oregon Sea Grant, tsunami

OSU researcher seeks better rip current forecasts

Posted by: | February 27, 2013 Comments Off on OSU researcher seeks better rip current forecasts |

Rip current warning signRip currents – strong channels of water flowing seaward from the shore – kill more Americans than do hurricanes. Caught off guard, people are swept out to sea, where they exhaust themselves swimming against the pull of the strong, outrushing current, and drown.

While scientists and the National Weather Service have made progress predicting the probability of rip currents in given locations, they so far lack a method ot accurately forecast whether and when they’ll actually occur, and how strong they might be.

Oregon State University’s Tuba Ozkan-Haller is hoping to change all that. For the last five years, she’s been working to develop a model to identify the location of rip currents up to a day in advance – something that would be a boon to swimmers, surfers and lifeguards around the world, and could save hundreds of lives a year.

Ozkan-Haller, an associate professor in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences, surveys the topography of the ocean floor to figure out how waves will travel over it; this allows her to see how that mass of water can escape back from shore via a rip current. She plugs these factors into a mathematical model she developed that predicts where and when rip currents will occur – and how strong they will be.

Helping her efforts are cutting-edge surveying technologies that allow her to observe properties at the water’s surface and infer the underlying bathymetry from those observations. This is a much more efficient and accurate way to get a sense of the sea floor than the standard procedure of surveying from a boat.

“I’m totally floored by how well we can do compared to traditional surveying methods,” says Ozkan-Haller. “You can set up a radar system near a beach and get continuous estimates of the bathymetry as it evolves from day to day without ever stepping foot into the water.”

The rip current effort is part of Ozkan-Haller’s broader interest in underwater coastal topography and how it helps shape the ocean’s waves. Oregon Sea Grant has supported some of that work, including a related project to develop a model for predicting nearshore wave patterns and heights. A reliable wave forecast system would benefit navigation, fishing, transportation, beach safety and even wave-energy siting.

Learn more:

under: beach safety, marine education, marine safety, oceanography, Oregon Sea Grant, research

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