Scientists rid derelict dock of wildlife

NEWPORT, Ore. -- It has to be the most notorious cement slab in America right now.

Weighing in at 165 tons, the chunk of concrete and steel traveled 5,000 miles across the Pacific in fifteen months all the way to Agate Beach.

The nearly 70-foot-long dock brought a few friends along for the ride: thousands of organisms native to the waters of Japan, including algae and little starfish.

All that had to go.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials took advantage of low tide Thursday morning to clean the animals off the dock.

"Any species that gets a foothold in a new area might out-compete the local organisms and cause real problems," said Mitch Vance with ODFW.

ODFW bagged it all up for Oregon State University biologists to identify and study.

Newport resident Kelly Everfree saw the dock as a teachable moment for her home-schooled, son, Orion.

"It's really neat," said Everfree. "We came out and talked about invasive species and about tsunami and i had my globe. Orion and I talked about the ocean, the tsunami and how it takes this long to cross the currents."

It's a lesson not just for Orion, but also for the hundreds of tourists that trekked through the sand out to the site. Scientists tested the dock and found no signs of radiation.

State police want people to stay off the dock so nobody gets hurt.