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Mile 216 — Lincoln County, Newport, Nye Beach south 
NHS Leadership — Beach was being used by many a.m. walkers. Things looked ordinary and will serve as a benchmark for subsequent observations. Attached is a photo the dead marine mammal at the north end of Mile ...   COMPLETE REPORT  
 Thu Jan 22, 8:00 AM   Dead Sea lion
Badly decomposing. previously reported to marine mammal stranding
Location: Nye Beach Turnaround
 CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator Offers Portland Talks
Fawn (center), teaching at shoreline science workshop. Photo by Michael Coe
A lot of CoastWatch volunteers (not to mention prospective future volunteers) live in the Portland Metro area, and one of our new year’s resolutions was to increase the opportunities we offer to learn about CoastWatch, citizen science and shoreline science in Portland and other inland areas.
Fawn Custer, our CoastWatch volunteer coordinator, has acted quickly on that resolution, scheduling two Metro-area talks on Wednesday, February 11, for lunch hour and happy hour.
Both presentations will focus in particular on Oregon’s rocky shore ecosystems—Fawn will explore tidepool life through slides and displays. But on each occasion, she will also provide background information on the full range of citizen science projects in which CoastWatch participates, and explain how to get involved, whether you live on the coast or inland.
The public is invited. Please invite along others who might be interested. Fawn will be glad to explain CoastWatch to any newcomers who are interested in adopting a mile.
The first of Fawn’s talks takes place noon to 2 p.m. at the Lucky Labrador brewpub’s Multnomah Village location, 7675 S.W. Capitol Highway in Portland. Food and drink are available from the Lucky Lab (on your own). Enjoy a bite or a beverage, make it lunch if you like, or just come to slake your hunger and thirst for coastal natural history.
The evening presentation takes place at the Green Dragon, 928 S.E. 9th Ave. in Portland (in the “grow room”), from 5-7 p.m. Both food and drink are available from the Green Dragon (which is hosting us free—so thanks to them).
For more information about the events (or anything else you want to know about CoastWatch), contact Fawn at (541) 270-0027.

 Observations Needed of Cassin’s Auklet ‘Wreck’
Beached auklet on mile 327. Photo by Brad Hill
For several months, beginning in October, the Oregon coast has been seeing a “wreck” (large-scale die-off) of Cassin’s auklets. When our “Sightings” piece (see below) was posted a month ago, the event was already prolonged. Yet the beached birds keep arriving, and the numbers increased dramatically in the wake of December storms, notably the one that took place Dec. 21. Other types of birds, too, were victims of the weather, but the Cassin’s auklet died in much higher numbers. Recent reports suggest that the peak numbers have declined, but significant numbers of the birds are still being reported.
Such die-offs take place periodically, typically tied to heavy storms, depleted food sources in the ocean, or a combination of the two. However, the reasons for the lengthy “wreck” of the auklets, and why conditions are singling out this particular species, are as yet unknown. The U.S. Geological Survey’s Wildlife Health Center is currently conducting necropsies, seeking a specific cause. Sometimes, counter-intuitively, die-offs are the result of healthy, expanding populations—a certain number of birds, especially young of the year, don’t survive in any season, and if the population grows rapidly an upsurge in beached birds may simply be a normal level of mortality by percentage but in higher absolute numbers. On the other hand, something darker such as the effects of climate change could be at work.
The phenomenon is West Coast-wide, from British Columbia at least down to the vicinity of San Luis Obispo. But the epicenter is Oregon’s north coast. CoastWatcher Robert Ollikainen in a Dec. 26 report noted 126 dead auklets on Mile 289 (the tip of Bayocean Spit at Tillamook Bay), and another 121 on Mile 286. Large numbers of beached Cassin’s auklets are being reported from many Oregon sites in the COASST beached bird survey, in which CoastWatch participates.
CoastWatchers are urged to make a special effort to record beached birds on their miles during this period, to help build up observations of the extent of the “wreck.” This is an opportunity to serve as forward observers for scientists, and to help gather information about an important ecological phenomenon.

 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 
 King Tide Project Rises Again in February
High water disturbs seal haulout on Salishan Spit. Photo by Linda Reid.
The final round of this year's King Tide project is coming up soon. This is the fifth year that CoastWatch has helped to sponsor 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 of the natural and built 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, the Surfrider Foundation and the MidCoast Watersheds Council.
This year the project focused on three sets of extreme tides: Dec. 21-23, Jan. 19-21, and Feb. 17-19. The first two sequences are over, but we're gearing up for the final effort. We're asking everyone who can get to the coast with a camera to help us document these tides on Tuesday through Thursday, Feb. 17-19. You will find more information on this handout. You can help by printing it out and posting it or passing it along to others who might be interested. NOAA has produced a "story map" tracing worldwide participation.
We’re asking volunteer photographers 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 Roadhouse 101 in Lincoln City. The best of the King Tide photos will be shown, photographers will be on hand to comment, and there will be brief talks on waves and erosion, and on the Oregon State University Envision project. The event is free and open to all (some refreshments provided, beer and meals available from the Roadhouse).
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,

 Cascadia Earthquakes Featured in Science on Tap Talk
As virtually everyone in the Northwest knows by now, our region is subject to occasional major earthquakes, generated by the “Cascadia Subduction Zone” off our coast, where two tectonic plates are grinding together. Chris Goldfinger, a professor of geology and geophysics at Oregon State University who has been a leading researcher in this field, will share the latest knowledge in a Science on Tap lecture in Portland. The event takes place on Tuesday, Feb. 3, at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6) in the Clinton Street Theater (2522 S.E. Clinton St.).
Cost of advance tickets through the theater is $8; a suggested cover of $10 is asked at the door. Beer, wine, popcorn and snacks are available.
While we can’t predict exactly when the next Great Cascadia Earthquake will happen, we can forecast the probabilities from a long history of past earthquakes. The study of the geological history of the last 10,000 years of the Cascadia Subduction Zone has shown that there have been 43 great earthquakes (magnitude 8.0 or higher) along the coast of Oregon, Washington, California, and British Columbia. Some of these earthquakes were probably magnitude 9.0 or higher, and like the 2011 Japanese and 2004 Sumatran earthquakes, they probably also caused large tsunami waves that were devastating all over the Pacific. Dr. Goldfinger will discuss the geology of the region and his research on the recurrence interval of major earthquakes. While this research may not allow us to pinpoint a date for the next great quake, a better understanding of the geological forces at work can help us prepare.
Earthquakes and tsunami of course have a strong bearing on Oregon Shores’ work. Bringing this kind of knowledge to bear on where to site development on the coast (hint: not on unstable sand spits) is a feature of our land use work.

 Watershed Council Will Consider Sea Star Situation
The public is invited to join the MidCoast Watersheds Council in learning about the ongoing sea star wasting syndrome episode. At the council’s meeting on Thursday, Feb. 5, 6:30 p.m. in the public meeting room of the Central Lincoln PUD (2129 N. Coast Hwy. in Newport), Dr. Steve Rumrill, Shellfish Program Leader for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, will talk about the mysterious mass ... MORE 
 Oregon Shores Creates New Repository for Coastal Photos
As you may have noticed if you visit this website regularly, Oregon Shores uses a lot of photographs of the Oregon coast. We illustrate articles on this website, and we also use photos in newsletters and e-bulletins and in various other publications (for instance, CoastWatch handouts). We’re constantly searching for new images of the coast. Some we seek for their sheer beauty, but we have a ... MORE 
 Marine Debris Volunteers Needed More than Ever
The upsurge of marine debris we've been seeing 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 have turned out for a number of special rapid response efforts to clean up debris that arrived in large quantities, and we need ... MORE 
 Cassin’s Auklet ‘Wreck’ Arrives on Oregon Coast
Volunteers and staff with COASST—the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team—have noted an unusually high number of dead Cassin’s auklets washing up on Pacific Northwest beaches in October and November, particularly on the northern Oregon coast, where an average of 6 dead CAAUs (the COASST abbreviation) per kilometer were found. Second-highest numbers were reported in southern Oregon, with 3 ... MORE 
  MILE 228  djohnson — Big news on Whale Cove! The undeveloped land on the west, north and east side of the cove is now owned by the USFWS. Our neighbor, Bryce Buchanan, purchased the land in 2005 with the sole purpose ...  MORE 
  MILE 216  NHS Leadership — Beach was being used by many a.m. walkers. Things looked ordinary and will serve as a benchmark for subsequent observations. Attached is a photo the dead marine mammal at the north end of Mile ...  MORE 
  MILE 245  TerryH DISPATCH  — A lot of large debris on the beach including tires, large plastic containers, and a large pile of heavy rope. Park Ranger Ryan aware and collecting the debris. Thanks Ryan!  MORE 
  MILE 169  oceanwalker842 — The effect of the King tide wasn't noticeable on this mile (however, it was noticed on the nearby almost overflowing Siuslaw River east of Florence). The high tides along with recent rain upriver ...  MORE 
  MILE 103  beachnut — Storms and King Tides have left their mark on this mile, eating away at both sand and beach vegetation. Logs are also much more numerous than usual, though not as concentrated as in the half mile to ...  MORE 
  MILE 102  beachnut — Brisk mornings in the 30s with mild northerly winds probably kept many inside. But gulls and crows were active, as were 2 people with 3 leashed dogs. A dead harbor seal lay amid logs, the carcass ...  MORE 
  MILE 239  ORbeach — Combined CoastWatch walk with King Tide photos day. An unusual amount of driftwood on the beach. Normally this stretch at the end of the Salishan Spit is a pleasant stroll. Today ... due to the ...  MORE 
  MILE 160  lightbug — My usual scenic walk along the Siltcoos River was under water today. The water at the beach was not really too much higher than normal, but the mouth of the Siltcoos was about four times wider than ...  MORE 
  MILE 335  srhoads — Human activity was very light. A beautiful sunny day with no wind. Sand is building up on top of the European beach grass, developing higher dunes. The debris on the beach was shocking. Macro ...  MORE 
  MILE 202  Unbound — Due to several recent large storms, we noted a much-higher than normal amount of driftwood on the beach, especially towards the North Alsea River Spit. We also noted a higher amount of debris on the ...  MORE 
  MILE 216  Ranger Bug — Quite a few (58) people on the beach, despite the overcast, windy weather. Fifteen people were walking 8 dogs, 5 off-leash, 3 on. One decomposing California sea lion carcass on the sand at the Nye ...  MORE 
  MILE 327  Simonetal — Nice windy day; lots of folks out driving the beach and a few hardy souls walking.  MORE 
  MILE 245  TerryH — Only a dozen "new" dead birds. However, this beach did see a large die-off of the blue-footed Cassin's auklets in December when at least 100 were found, another 50 probably buried in the sand. I ...  MORE 
  MILE 335  mandfwhite DISPATCH  — The die-off of Cassin's Auklets was very apparent; we counted 252 of them. There were 6 cars at our access point (Peter Iredale parking lot). We counted 5 cars driving on the beach, but didn't see ...  MORE 
  MILE 106  amyfra — There was a good deal of trash this time. Mostly plastic bottles, some styrofoam and a couple of glass bottles. Nice flat beach. Evidence of wood removal, chainsawing, and truck tire tracks and spot ...  MORE 
  MILE 168  PhotoJim — Overcast and light rain. Very peaceful, except at South end of mile where you could hear the OHV vechicles. Wrack line full of wood and logs, a good bit of human debris. Also found 19 dead birds, per ...  MORE 
  MILE 198  bahngarten — Calm cloudy a.m. Significant dead animals were 64 Cassin's auklets, 1 Brandt's cormorant, 5 unidentified slightly larger seabirds, 1 unidentified tubenose, 1 well-decomposed carcass of small-to ...  MORE 
  MILE 244  rainydaywalker — The tide had been up to the grass line. Sand deposit was heavy, covering bottom three steps at 38th Street access. I found most of the birds above the wrack line, one in the wrack and two west of ...  MORE 
  MILE 244  rainydaywalker DISPATCH  — Having read this article in the local paper, I went out this morning to see it. It would have been on the north half of my mile, 244, just west of the casino. I did not see the bouy. It may have ...  MORE 
  MILE 180  billmaxmcw — Unusual number dead Auklets (about 40). More ocean-based debris than usual.  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.