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In Oregon, the beaches belong to the people. As part of Oregon's tradition of environmental stewardship, the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition serves as the guardian of the public interest for our coastal region. Oregon Shores is dedicated to preserving the natural communities, ecosystems and landscapes of the Oregon coast while conserving the public's access.  Oregon Shores pursues these ends through education, advocacy, and engaging citizens to keep watch over and defend the Oregon coast.
 King Tide Project about to Rise Again
King Tide at Wheeler. Photo by L. M. Manz
For the fifth year, CoastWatch is sponsoring the King Tide project. This is the Oregon branch of an international volunteer effort to trace the year’s highest tides by means of photography. Documenting the highest reach of the tides tells us something about areas if the natural and build environments which are subject to erosion and flooding now. It tells us even more about what to expect as sea level rises. Our co-sponsors this year are the state’s Coastal Management Program and the Surfrider Foundation.
This year the project focuses on three sets of extreme tides: Dec. 21-23, Jan. 19-21, and Feb. 17-19.
We’re asking anyone capable of taking a photograph and able to get to the coast during the series of high tides to take shots at the highest point of the tide on those days. These photos can focus on any feature. Those that show the location of the tide in relation to the built environment (roads, seawalls, buildings) are especially useful in demonstrating impending threats. The ideal photo would be taken from a location where the photographer can return later at an ordinary high tide to take a comparison shot.
CoastWatch is making a special effort to organize photographers to document the reach of the King Tides in the vicinity of the new marine reserves (Cape Falcon, Cascade Head, Otter Rock, Cape Perpetua and Redfish Rocks). If willing to help with this citizen science project and seeking directions to areas we would particularly like to document, please let us know.
Participating photographers are asked to post their photographs on the project’s Flickr site, Those who don’t wish to use Flickr can e-mail their photo files to
More information about the project, including links to tide tables and suggestions for posting photographs, can be found on the King Tide website, For more information about the technical aspects of the project, please contact Meg Gardner, NOAA Coastal Fellow, at the Oregon Coastal Management Program in Newport: (541) 574-4514 or
At the conclusion of the project, a celebration will be held beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 20, at the South Beach location of the Rogue Brewery in Newport. The best of the King Tide photos will be shown, photographers will be on hand to comment, and there will be a special speaker. The event is free and open to all (some refreshments provided, beer and meals available from the Rogue).
For information about the project, and about participating in the special effort to document the King Tides in the marine reserve areas, contact Fawn Custer, CoastWatch volunteer coordinator, at (541) 270-0027,

 Volunteers Needed as Marine Debris Monitoring Project Prepares for Fall
Float carrying non-native mussels. Photo by Charlie Plybon.
The upsurge of marine debris on Oregon’s shoreline late last spring, much of it from the Japanese tsunami and some of it bearing potentially invasive organisms, was a reminder of the continued importance of monitoring for marine debris and cleaning it up. With winter storms on the horizon again, we need to ramp up our marine debris monitoring effort to be ready to respond. Here's a handout on our current project--please pass this along to others to help us build the strength of our community teams.
CoastWatch has been working with four partner groups as the Oregon Marine Debris Team (OMDT) to address the debris problem. This involves scouting the shoreline for debris and organizing cleanups. It also involves a citizen science project, through which teams of volunteers survey sites on a regular basis and develop data about the amounts and types of debris washing up on our coast. Plus, it involves scouting for potential invasive organisms ferried on tsunami debris.
Fawn Custer, our CoastWatch volunteer coordinator, is heading up this effort on behalf of the OMDT. Our goal is to organize teams to conduct monthly surveys at 11 sites. We now have 10 sites up and running. The 11th site is wide open to anyone who wants to pull together a team. Thanks to funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), made available through Oregon Sea Grant (one of our OMDT partners), we provide $500 “community grants” to assist these teams in purchasing equipment and covering transportation costs. The teams commit to regular surveys using a formal NOAA protocol. We provide training and support.
Even where we have teams actively working, help is needed to augment the group so that there will always be enough volunteers to cover the site each month. Contact Fawn to learn where new volunteers are especially needed (but you are welcome to participate anywhere). A particular goal is to gather solid data on marine debris on shorelines in the vicinity of Oregon's new marine reserves.
The existing teams include two in Clatsop County, two in Lincoln County, two in Curry County and one each in Douglas, Coos, Tillamook and Lane counties. No prior experience is necessary. Training and support will be provided by the Oregon Marine Debris Team (OMDT), a partnership among four non-profit organizations—CoastWatch, Surfrider, SOLVE, Washed Ashore—plus Oregon Sea Grant. The OMDT actively collaborates with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
For information or to volunteer, contact Fawn Custer: via email, (541) 270-0027. Or go to the OMDT website, click here. Contact Fawn also if you would be willing to help scout any stretch of the Oregon shoreline for marine debris on a regular basis.

 Workshop Will Assist with Commenting on Jordan Cove LNG Proposal
Coos Bay's North Spit, including site of proposed LNG Plant. Photo by Alex Derr
Oregon Shores is working with a coalition of non-profit groups trying to block a proposal for an LNG (liquefied natural gas) plant on Coos Bay’s North Spit, and an attendant pipeline that would cross southern Oregon, including hundreds of streams and five major rivers.
There are many aspects to this lengthy struggle, and we are involved in a lot of them. We have volunteered to take the lead, through our Coastal Law Project (a partnership with the Crag Law Center) in addressing water quality issues associated with the “Jordan Cove/Pacific Connector” proposal.
The next challenge we face is to get comments to the three agencies that are charged with reviewing Jordan Cove’s application for a 404 Clean Water Permit. Comments are due January 12, 2015. Many of the organizations in the coalition, including Oregon Shores, will be commenting, but it is important that voices from the community are heard as well.
To help citizens to participate, we are co-sponsoring a quick training session with Courtney Johnson, the Crag attorney we primarily work with, next Monday, December 15, 7-9 p.m. at the Coos Bay Fire Hall, located 450 Elrod in Coos Bay. This is a meeting of the local group Citizens Against LNG, who are co-sponsoring the workshop. Everyone is welcome.
Courtney will provide expert help in wading through the different criteria, applications and agencies. She will explain the Clean Water Act requirements and walk participants through some of the criteria these agencies must address. The goal of this workshop is to help attendees understand the legal framework and identify important issues for drafting their own public comments to the Army Corps and DEQ. For more information about this meeting, contact Katy Eymann,
Here is some additional background, along with contact information for making comments:
Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector have submitted their applications for the LNG export terminal in Coos Bay and 232-mile pipeline to Malin, Oregon. Before the project can begin, the applicants must secure permits from several state and federal agencies. Under the Clean Water Act, the Army Corps of Engineers is authorized to review and issue permits for impacts to wetlands and waters of the United States that will result from the project. In addition, the applicants must secure an approval from the State of Oregon Department of Environmental Quality certifying that the project will comply with state water quality standards. These agencies are currently accepting public comment on these applications. Oregon Shores and Crag Law Center are teaming up to prepare comprehensive comments on these applications.
If you cannot attend this meeting, but would like to submit comments on these applications, send comments to:
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Mr. Tyler J. Krug
North Bend Field Office
2201 N. Broadway Suite C
North Bend, Oregon 97459-2372
Comments may be submitted electronically to
Use the subject line “NWP-2012-441 - Public Comment"
Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Attn: 401 Water Quality Project Manager
Eugene Office
165 E 7th Avenue, Suite 100
Eugene, Oregon 97401
Comments may be submitted electronically to
Electronic comments to DEQ should be submitted in Microsoft Word or WordPerfect format.

 Marine Board Refuses to Consider Salmon River Jet Ski Petition
Aerial view of Salmon River mouth, with estuary behind. Photo courtesy of USGS.
At the request of local members, Oregon Shores launched a campaign to ban jet skis on the Salmon River. We've run into an obstruction for the moment, however, as the Oregon Marine Board at its Oct. 22 in Astoria refused even to consider the petition we submitted.
Our petition, drafted with the help of the Crag Law Center, our partners in the Coastal Law Project, gathered support from many individuals and conservation groups. After we submitted the petition, Marine Board staff held a Tuesday, Sept. 9 hearing in Lincoln City to gather public feedback. While a number of thoughtful voices supported our petition, a long line of jet skiers and fishermen testified that they wanted unfettered use of the river. A huge majority of those who visit the Salmon River, including those who visit the Sitka Center and Camp Westwind, and the many people who kayak and canoe on the estuary, would strongly prefer that jet skis be banned. There are thousands of people who object to the intrusion of jet skies in the estuary (including scientists who do research there), while only a relative few wish to engage in this noisy and disruptive sport, but the jet skiers drowned out more reasonable voices.
The Salmon River estuary, just south of Cascade Head, is one of Oregon’s most ecologically important. Jet skis destroy the peace and solitude of the area, and pose a threat to kayakers, canoeists and others enjoying the area when they arrive on the narrow estuary in numbers, which happens from time to time. Jet skis also disturb wildlife, create wakes that can erode the area’s restored marshes and archeological and geological research sites, and in general have a disruptive effect on an area that is an important site for both non-intrusive recreation and research. The estuary lies within the Cascade Head National Scenic Research Area, the first “scenic research area” in the country. When it was created, the intention stated in the plan was that motorized craft on the river be restricted to 5 mph, but this regulation was never put in place by the Marine Board. Jet skis, of course, habitually go much faster than this.
Oregon Shores’ petition was supported by the Salmon Drift Creek Watershed Council, the Westwind Stewardship Group, Lincoln City Audubon, the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, and the Cascade Head Ranch Homeowners’ Association. But the Marine Board voted 4-1 against even starting a rulemaking process to consider the petition. Their stated reason was that none of the public agencies (such as the Forest Service and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife) had commented on the petition. But the agencies informed us that they couldn't comment on the petition, which would be advocacy, but would comment once rulemaking started. We were therefore caught in a perfect Catch-22.
We will continue to pursue this issue, and are currently weighing strategies.
If you care about the issue, but aren't on Oregon Shores' e-mail list, let us know and we'll keep you informed. Contact Phillip Johnson, (503) 754-9303,