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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.
 Campaign for New Website Making Progress toward Goal
A prototype page for the new website.
Oregon Shores has had a special goal all summer. In addition to all our ongoing programs, we have been seeking support for a complete revamping of all our underlying technology, and most visibly our website.
We announced this campaign with a goal of $38,000 to fund this long-needed technical rebuild. Thanks to a grant from the So Hum Foundation and the generous support of a number of individual donors, we are more than 75% of the way there. We just need to raise another $9,000 to completely fund the project.
A glance at the pages of this website will tell you that Oregon Shores is deeply engaged in a wide range of conservation work, from citizen science and marine reserves to land use and water quality issues. We’ve built a long record of accomplishment, but we have done so struggling with rusty tools.
Many of us have a certain fondness for our one-of-a-kind website, the one you’re visiting now. It was custom-designed with features that were unique in their day, and it has carried us through many initiatives and many battles. However, the website is limited in many ways, and is badly in need of an upgrade. Likewise, the “back-end” technology that supports all of our membership services and communications is cumbersome and lacking the kind of capacity available through a modern system. Plus, the new citizen science projects we have organized through CoastWatch would benefit greatly from more sophisticated techniques for gathering and displaying shoreline observations and measurements. We would like to further our citizen science work through interactive maps and connections with national and international data sharing systems.
Working with Portland’s Dorey Design Group, we have plans in place for a complete transformation of our website and a thorough enhancement of the behind-the-scenes technology that powers our communications, membership management, and data collection and analysis for coastal monitoring.
Once the transition is complete, you will find a website that is easier to read and navigate—not to mention more beautiful and engaging, with more photos, videos, maps, and opportunities to interact with fellow coastal conservationists. You will also find more and better tools to assist you in monitoring a CoastWatch mile, participating in a citizen science project, or getting active on a land use or water quality issue, along with a rich trove of information on important issues like marine reserves, shoreline habitats, invasive species, and adaptive planning.
To contribute, click on the “Donate Now” button on this site, or write to us at P.O. Box 33, Seal Rock, OR 97376. If your gift is intended as a special donation in support of the website project, please be sure to indicate this on the check or in the “Comments” section of the online form.
For more information about the details of this project, send email to

 King Tide Project Preparing to Document Year’s Highest Water
Prepare to get out the cameras and visit the coast during the 2015 King Tide Events. This year the project focuses on three sets of extreme tides: Oct. 27-29, Nov.24-27, and Dec. 23-25. For the sixth year, CoastWatch is sponsoring the annual 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 ... MORE 
 Volunteer Coordinator Will Speak on Marine Debris in Yachats
Yachats. Photo by Alex Derr.
The Yachats Academy of Arts and Sciences has invited Fawn Custer, CoastWatch’s volunteer coordinator, to lecture on Thursday, Oct. 15, 6:30 p.m. The free public event takes place at the Yachats Commons (1555 Highway 101 in the middle of town).
Fawn’s talk will accompany the film “It’s Everybody’s Ocean,” a documentary by Atsuko Quirk. The film tells the story of Ikema, a tiny outpost of the Miyako Islands. Known for its coral reefs, the island has been overwhelmed by tons of marine debris originating from all over Asia and threatening is ecosystems. Clean-up efforts on the tiny Japanese island involve virtually the entire population. School children go at it with great enthusiasm. The bar code number of each plastic container is recorded because it identifies the nation of origin. Thus, the school children can notify each country regarding how much ocean trash has been traced to it. Ikema is working with the University of Hawaii to encourage Pacific Rim nations to reduce trash thrown into the sea.
Fawn will discuss marine debris arriving on Oregon’s coast, and the efforts of CoastWatch and our partners in the Oregon Marine Debris Team (Surfrider, SOLVE, Washed Ashore and Oregon Sea Grant) to both monitor and combat it. She will discuss the nature of the debris arriving here, particularly tsunami debris and the risk of invasive species is may carry. She will talk about our cleanup efforts and their results, and explain the formal marine debris survey that CoastWatch directs on behalf of the OMDT. More volunteers are always needed for the teams that conduct these surveys.
The Yachats Academy of Arts and Sciences, sponsored by Friends of the Yachats Commons, is an informal citizen-based organization dedicated to bringing educational and entertainment opportunities to the central coast. For future event announcements go to

 Annual Meeting to Feature Overview of Oregon’s Ocean
Oceanographer Bill Peterson will address the Oregon Shores annual meeting on Nov. 7 in Lincoln City. Peterson will survey the State of Oregon’s Ocean. His presentation will consider the current El Nino, changes in ocean conditions such as "the Blob," climate change impacts such as ocean acidification, the effects of these changes on marine organisms from plankton and krill to Cassin’s auklets ... MORE 
 Drift Gillnet Opponents Gain a Portion of Our Demands
Sea turtle caught in drift gillnet. Photo courtesy of Turtle Island Restoration Network.
Joining fishing groups, businesses and fellow conservation groups, Oregon Shores signed a letter to the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) asking the regulatory agency to crack down on drift gillnets that destroy a great deal of marine life. In particular, these nets threaten endangered sea turtles such as the leatherback and loggerhead, along with whales and other marine mammals. The letter called on the PFMC to place stringent limits (“hard caps”) on driftnets at its September meeting in Sacramento, and to phase out the gear entirely as quickly as possible.
As it turned out, the Council adopted hard limits on the number of endangered marine mammals and sea turtles that can be injured or killed in the swordfish drift gillnet fishery. For most species, including all sea turtle species, the limit is two inadvertent deaths per biennium (four for other species). These caps are two-year limits which means the fishery must stay below the cap over a two-year period. If the cap is reached or exceeded the fishery will be closed for the remainder of the fishing season, and possibly the remainder of the second year as well (if the cap is reached in year 1, the fishery will be closed the remainder of year 1 and year 2). Federal fishery observers are expected to monitor 30% of the fishery to determine if the caps are hit in the next two fishing years, and fishery monitoring will increase to 100% in 2018 according to the Council action. The hard caps will be regulatory and the Council’s action will now go to the National Marine Fisheries Service for final review and approval.
In addition to adopting hard caps for nine marine mammal and sea turtle species, the Council also voted to establish non-regulatory measures to reduce bycatch of other marine mammals, sharks and manta rays, and recreationally important bill fish species (e.g. marlin) that are injured and killed in swordfish drift gillnets. If the fishery does not reduce its bycatch to meet those objectives, the Council indicated it would consider additional management actions in the future.
This action brings us one step closer to a transition that phases out drift gillnets in place of cleaner, more sustainable gears to target swordfish in a way that is much safer for ocean wildlife. All in all, the groups that have advocated for the elimination of the drift gillnet fishery consider this a substantial but not complete victory, since the PFMC did not actually adopt a policy that would definitely place this type of gear on a pathway to complete abolition.
Some background: Drift gillnets target swordfish and thresher sharks. However, these nets trap a wide range of wildlife not sought by the fishermen. An average of 61% of all animals caught in the nets are simply discarded. In addition to sea turtles, these can include many species of whale, dolphin, sea lions and seals, sharks and other fish species.
Up through the 1990s, the fishery killed turtles, marine mammals and other species in large numbers. Regulations since then have greatly reduced the damage. A Pacific Leatherback Conservation Area was created in 2001 by the National Marine Fisheries Service to limit this type of fishing during the season when turtles are likeliest to be present off our coast (Aug. 15-Nov. 15), and it was also required that electronic “pingers” be attached to nets. In 2009, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife stopped issuing permits for driftnets. Washington has also banned the gear. However, California-based boats may still fish in Oregon waters and capture turtles and other animals in our nearshore ocean.
Moreover, fishing interests have been pushing to get back into the Pacific Leatherback Conservation Area and resume fishing further and further north. This year the PFMC approved an exempted fishing permit that will allow two drift gillnet vessels back into the conservation area. Says Ben Enticknap of Oceana, the organization which has been leading opposition to driftnets, “The next foreseeable step is that the council may allow more fishermen back in, or lift large portions of the conservation area all together. This should be viewed as a big threat to Oregon.” However, with the latest PFMC action, there is now leverage to push back against this type of fishery if damage to marine mammals, turtles and other species can be demonstrated.
The letter from Oregon Shores and other groups argues that other gear types can be used to target swordfish in an environmentally responsible manner. In fact, swordfish caught with deep-set buoy gear fetch higher prices than those caught with gillnets. We will continue to urge the PFMC to mandate a transition to less harmful methods.

 Nearshore Conservation Strategy Prompts Oregon Shores Comments
In late July, Oregon Shores submitted a five-page letter of comment on the draft 2015 – 2025 Nearshore Conservation Strategy prepared by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). Bob Bailey, Oregon Shores Ocean Committee Chair, also presented testimony to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission at its August meeting Salem to reiterate key points in the letter. The ODFW Nearshore ... MORE 
 Deadline for Comments on South Coast Mining Approaches
The public comment period concerning mining proposals aimed at the headwaters of south coast rivers has ended. Now we wait for the next phase. Public meetings held Sept. 9-10 in Gold Beach and Grants Pass by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service, attended by more than 400 people, were a watershed moment in public demand for protection of the south coast’s near-pristine rivers. Of ... MORE 
 Benefit Coastal Conservation While You Shop
Oregon Shores needs the support of all our members, and all those who care about protecting our coastal environment, if our initiatives in such key areas as citizen science, marine reserves, and shoreline protection are to succeed. You can help by joining or renewing your membership, and by making additional contributions. But another way to assist us--and benefit us all year long--is by ... MORE 
 Photos Shared with Oregon Shores Help Us Illustrate Our Work
As you've likely noticed if you visit this website regularly, Oregon Shores uses numerous photographs of the shoreline and of the entire coastal region. We illustrate articles on this website, and we also use photos in newsletters and e-bulletins and in various other publications, such as CoastWatch handouts. We’re constantly searching for new images of the coast. Some we seek for their sheer ... MORE