Public Comment Invited on Rocky Shore Policy
For the first time in a quarter-century, Oregon is revisiting the state’s policies that protect our rocky shores. The current Rocky Shores Management Strategy, dating back to the early 1990s, was never fully implemented, and existing regulations haven’t been revised in the face of growing population, increasing pressure on resources, and the impacts of climate change. Oregon Shores urged that the state's Ocean Policy Advisory Council launch a review of current policies, and we were pleased that the council did establish a working group for this purpose, which is now well on its way.
The working group as developed a draft of a new Rocky Shores Management Strategy, and we are in the midst of a public comment period for the "Phase 1 Draft," during which citizens can weigh in on the group's work to date. The deadline for public comment in this round is the end of the day on Monday, March 25 (end of the day meaning that you have until 11:59 p.m.). Comments can be e-mailed to [email protected]. The draft will be reviewed at a meeting of the state's Ocean Policy Advisory Council on April 3.
Oregon Shores is seizing this opportunity to advocate for increased levels of protection for key rocky shore habitats, clearer designation of special conservation areas, tighter regulations on harvesting of intertidal organisms, and a more thoughtful linkage of rocky shore management areas to the state’s new marine reserves and marine protected area. Here are the original comments we submitted to the Ocean Policy Advisory Council. We will be submitting updated comments on the draft management strategy by the comment deadline.
Individuals submitting comments could argue for such improvements to the draft as: 1) basing all management of rocky shores on the "precautionary principle," whereby the presumption is that habitats will be fully protected, with harvests or other uses allowed only when solid science indicates that they will do no harm; 2) making it clear that the rocky shores belong to all Oregonians, not just "coastal stakeholders," and that any individual, group, or resource agency can submit proposed changes to the strategy at any time; 3) describing much more clearly how public education and citizen science relating to rocky shores are to be coordinated and supported, and by who.
Oregon Shores has long advocated for heightened management attention to the state’s tidepools and other rocky shore areas. Much of the plan that was done in the 1990s was never impemented. As our comments indicate, there are many rocky shore areas that we believe merit higher levels of protection.
As this planning process continues, see our calendar for listings for future working group meetings or rocky shores workshops, or find the full schedule and background information about the planning process on this website.
Oregon’s management of our state’s rocky shore areas falls under Goal 19 of our land use planning system, the goal that governs our Territorial Sea. For background on the development of Oregon Shores’ strategy for managing our rocky shore areas, go here. Note that the working group on rocky shores is actually a sub-group of the Territorial Sea Plan Working Group, which is considering all policies for the area between the intertidal zone and the three-mile limit offshore where state waters end and federal waters begin.
See Oregon Shores’ comments for more ideas on points to make in calling for stronger conservation measures for our tidepools and other rocky intertidal habitats.
For more information about the process, contact Deanna Caracciolo, Rocky Shores Coordinator for the Oregon Coastal Management Program, (503) 934-0026, [email protected].