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Mile 239 — Lincoln County, Salishan Spit north, Siletz Bay 
ORbeach — Beautiful but breezy day. The beach was covered with millions of Velella velella ("by-the-wind sailors") jellyfish decomposing in the sun. Very little debris but a couple possible tsunami items.   COMPLETE REPORT  
 Wed Apr 15, 3:52 PM   Fiberglass tube with barnacles
Heavy fiberglass tube approx. 1m long with pelagic barnacles inside. Could not find any writing on it. Too heavy to carry out.
Location: Salishan Spit
 Marine Mammal Events Coming to Florence and Lincoln City
Humpback whale carcass on the Oregon coast. Photo by Dina Pavlis.
CoastWatch actively collaborates with the Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network to track beached animals, alive or dead. We help to protect the ones that are alive and to assist scientists in compiling data about those that wash up dead. Events coming up in Florence and Lincoln City this month will provide background information for CoastWatchers—and other members of the public—who are helping to keep vigilant for this shoreline phenomenon.
On Wednesday April 22 at 6 p.m. on the Florence Campus of Lane Community College (3149 Oak Street), and on Thursday evening, April 23, 6 p.m. at the Lincoln City campus of Oregon Coast Community College (3788 S.E. High School Dr.), Room 208, CoastWatch will be hosting two presentations on marine mammals. The presentations are co-sponsored by the community colleges.
Beginning at 6 p.m. on each evening, CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator Fawn Custer will provide a bit of background, and then introduce Jim Rice, who coordinates the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. Rice will provide information for volunteers willing to keep watch for beached marine mammals. This will be followed by a break (refreshments provided).
At 7:30, marine mammal expert Jim Sumich, author of “E. robustus: The Biology and Human History of Gray Whales,” will speak on the most common cetacean found off Oregon’s shores. Sumich is the author of a leading textbook on marine biology and co-author of “Marine Mammals: Evolutionary Biology.” He has taught at the college and university level for more than four decades and has conducted research on gray whales from British Columbia to Baja California. He currently teaches a course on marine mammals at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center.
After a brief introduction to gray whale biology and ecology, Sumich will focus on recent research that has revealed at least four distinct migration and feeding patterns of gray whales in the North Pacific. The combination of radio tagging, photo identification, and genetic studies is changing the way we look at separate populations of gray whales and how we manage our interactions with them.
More information about Jim Sumich’s book and order forms available at
For more information about the event, contact Fawn Custer,, (541) 270-0027.

 Request Goes Out to Watch for Non-Native Algae
The derelict vessel found floating off Oregon’s coast, which was the subject of an earlier alert, has been towed to Newport and examined by scientists. Few animal species were found clinging to the vessel, but it was festooned with algae. Since these were species from the western Pacific, it is clear that the unidentified vessel comes from Asia, and is probably debris from the 2011 Japanese ... MORE 
 County Fee Could Limit Access to Douglas County Shoreline
Winchester Bay and the Umpqua's mouth. Photo courtesy of Surfrider.
Oregon Shores has always strongly advocated for free access to the public shoreline. While there are valid reasons for charging fees for camping and other services, simple access to nature should be open to all. When Sam Boardman created Oregon’s state park system beginning in 1929, he concentrated on establishing a network of coastal parks and pull-outs for the precise purpose of providing access to the public shoreline for all Oregonians and other visitors to our coast.
While we Oregonians are proud of our open public beaches, access to the shoreline is less well protected. A new threat to public access has arisen in Douglas County. The county government is considering the imposition of a fee for beach access at Winchester Bay, the only readily accessible free access point in the county. This is an important location for beach and ocean users of all kinds. Imposing a fee could create a barrier blocking some people from the enjoyment of the shoreline that belongs to all.
We support our colleagues with the Surfrider Foundation, who have taken the lead in bringing this potential threat to our open beaches to public attention. Surfrider has created a petition through which all Oregon beach users can express opposition to imposing a fee: go here
You can also contact Douglas County Parks directly and urge them to maintain Winchester Bay Parking Lot #1 as a free public beach access point: (541) 464-6387,
The land was turned over to Douglas County by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, with the understanding that access to the public would remain free.
In 2009, Surfrider conducted a recreational use study to inform decision-making about the area and gain a more comprehensive understanding of recreational use at Winchester Bay South Jetty in relation to a proposed wave energy project attached to the jetty. One key finding was that a decrease in recreational use would heavily impact area businesses. Not only would imposing an access fee provide a potential economic hardship for local users, but it could harm the local economy as well.
Oregon Shores is urging Douglas County to step back from considering an access fee at Winchester Bay, and asks members and others to do so as well and take a stand for open public access to the shoreline.

 Keep Watch for Transponders While Monitoring the Shore
Most CoastWatchers and other beachcombers are highly aware of the debris generated by the Japanese tsunami of 2011 that has been reaching our shores. But here is an alert concerning “debris” that was tossed into the sea deliberately. CoastWatchers and others who walk the beach and observe it carefully may be able to help. After the tsunami took place, scientists released instruments known as ... MORE 
 Possible Tsunami Vessel Captured and Under Study
Last week, on April 9, the Coast Guard reported a derelict vessel floating off the Oregon coast which appeared to be from the Japanese tsunami. The half-submerged ship was reported off Seal Rock, drifting north with the inshore current. At the time, CoastWatchers and others were asked to keep watch for the vessel, in case it began to come onshore. However, a number state and federal agencies ... MORE 
 CoastWatch Citizen Science Projects Need More Volunteers
CoastWatch has long sponsored several citizen science projects, such as the beached bird survey in which many mile adopters participate. Over the course of the past year, though, we have expanded the range of these projects. We now conduct seven citizen science projects. Through our "Community Engagement with Marine Reserves" project, we are developing a special project to focus citizen science ... MORE 
 Volunteers Needed to Monitor Sea Stars at Yachats
Yachats, site of the sea star training. Photo by Alex Derr.
CoastWatch is organizing formal surveys of sea star populations and "sea star wasting syndrome" on rocky intertidal sites. We are working throughout the coast but concentrating on the areas of our marine reserves. We use a protocol provided by PISCO (Partnership for Interdisciplinary Studies of Coastal Oceans, based at Oregon State University and three other campuses).
New volunteers are always needed and welcome. One opportunity is coming up. Volunteers are needed for a sea star survey team at Yachats State Park. The next survey will be at either 8 a.m. on Monday, April 20 or 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 21, depending on which date would draw the greatest participation. If interested, contact team leader Karen Heere, Details will be sent after the date is set.
For more about the sea star monitoring project or other citizen science surveys, and schedules for the various monitoring teams, contact Fawn Custer, CoastWatch volunteer coordinator, (541) 270-0027, You’ll find more on citizen science elsewhere on this page.

 Event Brings Redfish Rocks to Port Orford Docks
The annual Redfish Rocks on the Docks event is coming up Sunday, April 19, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the port of Port Orford (300 Dock Rd.—in the case of extreme weather, the event will be moved to the OSU Field Station, 444 Jackson Street, behind the Crazy Norwegian’s restaurant). CoastWatch will be playing an active role. Redfish Rocks on the Docks is an interactive community event with activities ... MORE 
 Oregon Shores Supports New Zoning for Bayocean Spit
Bayocean Spit shoreline. Photo by Jordan Epstein (a CoastWatcher with a mile on the spit).
Those who love Bayocean Spit (which encloses Tillamook Bay) have long been concerned about its future. This is certainly true of those CoastWatchers who have miles there.
While much of the spit is in public hands, there are private inholdings, and periodically the spit has been the object of development schemes. Oregon Shores supported local residents who successfully defeated a proposed resort in January. The “eco-resort” was ostensibly going to be low-impact, but the plan was very questionable in many respects, and would almost certainly have had far larger impacts than the proposal admitted. The proposal was turned down by the Tillamook County Planning Commission. Still, it underscored the risk of development still hanging over the area. Oregon Shores has worked against a number of schemes aimed at Bayocean Spit over the decades.
The Cape Meares Community Association has asked the Tillamook Board of Commissioners to rezone the spit to "Recreation Natural," to reduce or eliminate such threats. The commissioners held a workshop to consider this request on Wednesday, April 8. If you are concerned about this issue and would like to see the spit kept in its "natural" state (at least, as natural as it can be given that in its present form it is shaped by beachgrass and the jetty), now would be the time to get involved. Oregon Shores will be following this issue, and will circulate information on how to participate as the process evolves.

  Snowy Plover Nesting Season Begins, with an Addition
Nesting season for Western snowy plovers, a federally threatened shorebird that nests on the sandy shore, is underway on Oregon beaches. Beachgoers are asked to follow nesting season restrictions, which continue through September 15 on certain Oregon beaches to protect snowy plover eggs and young. CoastWatchers can help by paying special attention to the plover exclusion zones and keeping an eye ... MORE 
 Mark Your Calendars Early for This Summer’s Workshops
Our summer shoreline science workshops, three-day intensive encounters with coastal natural history, are the best opportunity we can offer to absorb a great deal of training for CoastWatch monitoring in short order. We don’t have all the details set as of now, but we have our basic plan. As in past years, these workshops will be led by ecologist Stewart Schultz, author of The Northwest Coast: A ... MORE 
 Marine Debris Volunteers Needed for Long-Term Monitoring
The upsurge of marine debris we saw this winter on Oregon’s shoreline, some of it from the Japanese tsunami and bearing potentially invasive organisms, is a reminder of the continued importance of monitoring for marine debris and cleaning it up. CoastWatchers turned out for a number of special rapid response efforts to clean up debris that arrived in large quantities, which successfully rounded ... MORE 
 Watch for By-the-wind Sailors Stranded on Our Shores
Every avid Oregon beachcomber is familiar with Velella velella, or by-the-wind sailors: little (typically 4 to 6 cm.) violet-blue floating creatures that are often stranded by the hundreds or thousands on the beach April through July. This year, as many beachgoers have noted, they have stranded by the hundreds of thousands--but this is still part of the natural cycle. They live in vast ... MORE 
  MILE 306  Frankie — Clam tide, though surf was rough so few clams were gotten.  MORE 
  MILE 239  ORbeach — Beautiful but breezy day. The beach was covered with millions of Velella velella ("by-the-wind sailors") jellyfish decomposing in the sun. Very little debris but a couple possible tsunami items.  MORE 
  MILE 205  Fawn and Mike DISPATCH  — Plenty of new debris on the beach this morning. Large black buoy too large to move, a crate and other smaller buoys with organisms. Taken to HMSC. Interest in the buoy with the limpet.  MORE 
  MILE 306  Frankie DISPATCH  — Observed an adult, breeding plumage Brown Pelican standing on the rocks early this AM. After several hrs, called Wildlife Center of the North Coast. Joshua & Bradley arrived from Astoria early PM. ...  MORE 
  MILE 245  LWelcher DISPATCH  — Literally over a million By-the-Wind Sailors here today, but to my horror there are also 4 dead pelicans and several dead and eaten gulls.  MORE 
  MILE 222  dderickson — The most outstanding features of this survey were the large amounts of washed-up By-the-wind sailors (Velella velella) in all the drift lines between the water's edge and the bluff, and the large ...  MORE 
  MILE 245  TerryH DISPATCH  — Noted 6 dead pelicans, which is unusual for this beach. Also, the velella stranding has gotten much larger, 3 inches deep in places.  MORE 
  MILE 306  Frankie — Apparent tsumani debris  MORE 
  MILE 10  SMathis — Nice day to do a survey. Of note was a marked absence of sea stars. Not normal.  MORE 
  MILE 106  amyfra — Very little debris of any kind on the beach. A young sea lion(1 yr. oldish) lying on beach at surf. Appeared a bit thin and lethargic. At 145 post north of Bullards Beach parking area. Will check ...  MORE 
  MILE 306  Frankie — Velella velella all over  MORE 
  MILE 292  Mershlo DISPATCH  — A couple of hours before high tide, between Saltair Creek and the Rockaway wayside. Clear sunny day. Millions of Velella velella. Also a lot of things on the beach that had been out at sea for quite ...  MORE 
  MILE 224  malachite — Nice day on the beach except for an annoying chocolate lab who decided it was far more fun to follow me & my dog then stay w/his people. See Comments. I wish people would obedience train their dogs ...  MORE 
  MILE 169  oceanwalker842 — Light breeze from the north on a sunny, almost warm day. A few clouds on the northern horizon. More people on the beach than previously observed. Still not too much activity in this mile. There were ...  MORE 
  MILE 198  bahngarten — Mild winds from SW, cloudy dark morning. 6 people, 3 happy dogs walking beach. Moderate amounts of broken sand dollars (no wasting disease seen), clam shells, small pieces of driftwood. NO velella ...  MORE 
  MILE 43  Dale Lee — Save the Monkeyfaced Eel. There were 5 or more of these adult creatures that had died and were near the rocky shore's edge. Most of the Velella (thousands ) from last week were no longer present, but ...  MORE 
  MILE 226  George&Sheila — Two vehicles were parked near north end of mile, but nobody was observed along the shoreline below, though there were some signs of human activity - plastic chairs and tiki torches - on the terrace ...  MORE 
  MILE 203  nanumoore DISPATCH  — The storms blowing in from the west over the last few days left much debris covered with pelagic barnacles. Some of which are confirmed by Fawn Custer to be Tsunami debris. Velella velella covered ...  MORE 
  MILE 193  SKMacK — There seem to be more breaches in the bluff abutting both Ocean View drive north of the Yachats River Bridge, and Yachats Ocean Road south of the bridge. The paths down from the overlook at Yachats ...  MORE 
  MILE 245  TerryH DISPATCH  — Stranding of Velella velella (by-the-wind sailor) well underway on Roads End beach but why all the tiny ones? I saw very few adult velella.  MORE 
CoastWatch, a citizen monitoring program, engages Oregonians in personal stewardship over their shoreline. Volunteers adopt mile-long segments of Oregon's coast, keeping watch for natural changes and human-induced impacts, reporting on their observations, and sounding the alarm about threats and concerns.

CoastWatch is founded on individual vigilance and responsibility for one portion of the ocean shore. But the program also links hundreds of 'mile adopters' in a coastwide network of concerned citizens taking action to conserve shoreline resources. CoastWatchers serve as an early warning system not only for the Oregon Shores Conservation Coalition, but also for neighbors along their miles, local government, regulatory agencies and other conservation groups.