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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.
 Oregon Shores Helps to Form New Marine Reserves Partnership
Hart's Cove on Cascade Head, one of Oregon's new marine reserves. Photo by Alex Derr.
Having campaigned for more than a decade for the creation of Oregon’s new network of marine reserves, Oregon Shores has joined forces with five other groups to found the Oregon Marine Reserves Partnership. The goal of the new OMRP is to share information, promote good science and relevant research, and to engage citizens with their new marine reserves. In short, the goal is to work toward making the marine reserves successful.
Along with Oregon Shores, the OMRP members are the Audubon Society of Portland, Oceana, Surfrider Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and the Coast Range Association. Oregon Shores Executive Director Phillip Johnson and Robin Hartmann, our Ocean Policy Advocate, have been involved in the discussions over the past year that led to the formation of the partnership.
The OMRP, which officially launched on Oct. 20, is working on several outreach initiatives to engage people in marine reserves and protected areas, including signage, a new website,, helping local groups interested in participating in marine reserve and protected area activities, and sharing information at local events. The six founding organizations each send a representative to a steering committee, which has two rotating co-chairs. The partnership has also brought aboard a coordinator, Lisa DeBruyckere, who can be reached at (503) 704-2884 or
“Now that marine reserves and protected areas have been created, engaging all Oregonians in their stewardship is critical to success,” said co-chair Pete Stauffer of Surfrider Foundation.
Adds the other co-chair, Paul Engelmeyer of Audubon, “People can participate in seabird monitoring, adopt a CoastWatch mile, conduct surveys to document sea star wasting syndrome, take water samples to monitor for water quality along Oregon beaches, or join a community group focused on research and volunteer activities. The OMRP can connect people to marine reserves and protected areas for the simple enjoyment of those areas as well as several different types of volunteer activities.”
The five marine reserves are Cape Falcon, Cascade Head, Otter Rock, Cape Perpetua, and Redfish Rocks.

 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.
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.

 Help Wanted: Volunteers to Work on This Website
Looking for a way to get more involved with Oregon Shores and help us advance the cause of coastal conservation? If you have computer skills to offer, we need one or more volunteers to help keep our website up to date. This would involve learning to use the editing tools that are built into the website, then occasionally receiving information by email (article information, photos, links to ... MORE 
 Join Us for Oregon Shores’ Annual Meeting (Mostly Fun, a Little Business Thrown In)
Oregon Shores’ Annual Meeting Celebrates Citizen Science
Hennings Auditorium, Hatfield Marine Science Center (except as noted)

9:30 a.m.—Registration begins
10 a.m.—Welcome and introduction
10:15 a.m.—Bruce Menge: An Overview of Oregon’s Rocky Shore
Jenna Sullivan: The Impact of Sea Star Wasting Syndrome on
Intertidal Communities
11:20 a.m.--Oregon Shores Annual Membership Meeting
(Open to all—only members vote)
Noon- 1:15 p.m.—Lunch (on your own—room available at HMSC)
1:15 p.m.—Welcome and citizen science overview
1:30 p.m.—Rob Suryan: Seabirds of the Oregon Coast and their Role in
Marine Ecosystems
2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.—Fawn Custer (CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator):
Guided Beach walk and Sampling of CoastWatch Citizen Science
5:30 p.m.—Party at Rogue Brewery
Open to all—appetizers provided, drinks on your own
6:00 p.m.—Bob Cowen: The “Plankton Portal Project”—Citizen Science for
6:20 p.m.—The party continues

Free and Open to the Public

Dr. Bruce Menge
Dr. Menge is a renowned marine ecologist of Oregon State University, who will provide an overview of Oregon’s rocky shore ecosystems. Graduate student Jenna Sullivan, who is studying the impact of sea star wasting syndrome on those intertidal communities, will join him. Between them, they will give us the ecological context for CoastWatch’s citizen science project to monitor the changing sea star population.
Dr. Rob Suryan
Rob Suryan, will discuss the seabirds of the Oregon coast and their role in our marine ecosystems. Dr. Suryan is an Oregon State University senior research professor stationed at the Hatfield Marine Science Center (and also a CoastWatcher, we might note).
Fawn Custer
Weather permitting, we will venture to Seal Rock State Park, for some citizen science hands on experience. CoastWatch encourages volunteers to keep current with the latest research. Fawn will also take any questions about findings on our beaches. If the weather does not permit, we will adjourn to Lab 37. Fawn has a master’s in environmental education with degrees in marine biology and integrated science. She is a licensed teacher, having also taught informal education for over 15 years.
Dr. Robert Cowen
Researchers using an innovative underwater imaging system have taken millions of photos of plankton ranging from tiny zooplankton to small jellies and are now seeking help from the public to identify the species. Bob Cowen, the director of the Hatfield Marine Science Center, will explain the ‘plankton portal’ project and the partnerships that have helped to engage volunteers in this online citizen science effort. Though computers can take pictures and even analyze images, Dr. Cowen feels it takes humans to identify relationships between organisms and to recognize their behavior.

Please make plans to join us, stand up and be counted as a member—and learn all kinds of intriguing things about the coast we’re striving to protect.
Contact: Fawn Custer 5412700027 or

 Marine Board Considers 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 has launched a campaign to ban jet skis on the Salmon River. We've done everything we can, prior to the Oregon Marine Board's first meeting to consider our petition to that effect, which takes place Oct. 22 in Astoria.
We drafted a petition, with the help of the Crag Law Center, our partners in the Coastal Law Project, and gathered support from many individuals and conservation groups. After we submitted the petition, Marine Board staff held a Tuesday, Sept. 9 hearing to gather public feedback. No decision was made at the hearing—it was simply an opportunity for the public to testify. And testify it did. While a number of thoughtful voices supported our petition, a long line of jet skiers and fishermen (under the completely false impression that this action could wind up affecting them) 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 wish that jet skies would intrude on the estuary, while only a relative few wish to engage in this noisy and disruptive sport, but there is a risk that the enthusiasts will drown out those who visit the Salmon occasionally but can't be present at a weeknight pubic meeting.
The petition can be found online, posted near the bottom of this web page:
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 has been 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. It is too late now to comment prior to the Marine Board meeting--we'll just have to wait.
The Marine Board at this juncture will simply be deciding whether to accept the petition for a formal review. If they do agree to give us consideration, that will launch another lengthy process. During that period there will be more opportunities to send comments or attend public hearings. We'll post information on this website when more is known. 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,