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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.
 This Year’s Annual Oregon Shores Meeting Celebrates Citizen Science
Jenna Sullivan will speak on sea star wasting.
Our official annual members’ meeting is coming up on Saturday, Nov. 8, in Newport. Join us for a lot of fun and a little bit of official business. The event is free and op.en to everyone (although only members can vote during the board election and brief business session).
We’ve added a couple of presenters to those announced earlier. Courtney Johnson, the attorney we work with through our Coastal Law Project, will provide an in-depth briefing on land use issues in which we are engaged, and answer any and all questions about land use planning, water quality law and other regulatory matters. And Bob Cowen, director of the Hatfield Marine Science Center, will speak on a form of citizen science involving, of all things, plankton.
The event kicks off at 10 a.m. in the Hatfield Marine Science Center’s Hennings Auditorium (doors open at 9:30). You will find a complete agenda here. And here is the flyer, if you would like to help us spread the word.
Featured speaker in the morning will be renowned marine ecologist Bruce Menge of Oregon State University, who will provide an overview of Oregon’s rocky shore ecosystems. He will be joined by graduate student Jenna Sullivan, who is studying the impact of sea star wasting syndrome on those intertidal communities. Between them, they will give us the ecological context for CoastWatch’s citizen science project to monitor the changing sea star population (which Jenna is helping to advise).
We’ll hold our brief business session after the morning science talks. Board elections include a new candidate for the board, Graham Klag—a surfer, artist, and the new education coordinator for the Salmon Drift Creek Watershed Council. (Current board members Michael Coe and Corrina Chase are also standing for re-election.)
In the afternoon at 1:30 p.m. we’ll hear from Rob Suryan, who 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 a CoastWatcher, we might add). This talk will help to provide context for the beached bird survey that CoastWatch conducts.
Following the afternoon presentation, Volunteer Coordinator Fawn Custer will lead a beachwalk and explain CoastWatch’s citizen science projects. If the weather is too daunting, she will instead give a slide talk on these projects in the auditorium. At the same time, Courtney Johnson will speak on land use issues and provide information and tutoring for those interested in participating in regulatory issues in one of the HMSC labs.
We’ll wind up with a party at the Rogue Brewery in South Beach at 5:30 (feel free to join us even if you can’t attend the meeting during the day), featuring food, drink and a brief talk by Dr. Bob Cowen on the “Plankton Portal,” for those seeking to drift into citizen science.
For more information, contact Phillip Johnson, (503) 754-9303,

 Oregon Shores Helps to Form New Marine Reserves Partnership
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 ... MORE 
 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 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,