There still remains a high level of uncertainty on the quantity and movement of the Japanese tsunami debris following the March 2011 earthquake. Monitoring the approximately 1.5 million tons of floating material in the Pacific isn’t as easy task, as wind effects and ocean currents greatly disperse materials leaving satellite tracking ineffective. Based on forecasts, the bulk of the debris is anticipated to arrive in waters off Alaska to California in 2013, and expected to trickle in for several years. Karla Robison is leading efforts with federal, provincial, and local partners to collect data, assess the debris, and reduce possible impacts to our natural resources and coastal communities.
Karla Robison, Ucluelet’s Environmental and Emergency Services Manager, developed a local marine debris program to adaptively manage the tsunami debris situation as it evolves. This local initiative has been recognized as a program that can serve as a model for other local government planning. Robison is also able to share a local perspective with the Provincial/Federal Tsunami Debris Coordinating Committee (TDC) as she sits on the Tsunami Debris Planning, and Science and Monitoring teams.
Outside of her roles as an Environmental and Emergency Services Manager, Robison is an avid surfer, ocean enthusiast, and has a passion for protecting marine life and their ecosystems. She is currently preparing an expedition with a small team to stand up paddle across the the Strait of Georgia this summer in attempt to raise awareness and support for the preservation of the ocean from plastic pollution and other marine debris.