Patton Bay, Montague Island

In Alaska and the Pacific Northwest certain beaches will collect vast amounts of stranded marine debris, flotsam and jetsom that may have been adrift at sea for many years. The geomorphology of the shoreline and orientation to prevailing ocean currents are among the important factors determining which beaches collect the most marine debris. In the Gulf of Alaska the major coastal currents are generally counter-clockwise, and beaches facing into the current will typically collect more than beaches facing away. Flat sandy beaches where waves break over a wide surf zone and dissipate energy will collect more than steep rocky beaches where waves reflect from shore. Beaches adjacent to prominent points of land such as Kayak Island, Montague Island, and Gore Point are known to catch and collect the most marine debris. The greatest volume of debris are logs cut from the coastal forests in the last 50 years. These were assembled into huge rafts or loaded onto barges and towed to sawmills. Many of these rafts and barges were lost during storms, casting the logs adrift to eventually strand onshore. The most persistent marine debris are various plastic products used by the commercial fishing industry. See a short video here, and learn more here, and here. Click here to download the CoastView App and explore more of Patton Bay and Montague Island.