Here you will find calls to action -- opportunities to write letters, make calls, or send emails about a land use decision or policy matter, attend a hearing or a rally, or help with an ongoing project or campaign.
Comment on Offshore Wind Development
The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), working with Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development, is planning for the potential development of offshore wind energy in federal waters off our shores. Two “Call Areas” have now been designated off the Oregon coast, west of Coos Bay and Brookings. Once these areas have been confirmed after a comment period, leases will be offered within the call areas for prospective wind energy developers. The public has until June 28 to comment on the appropriateness of these areas and the potential environmental impacts. Click here to learn more about the BOEM process and the ecological concerns.
To comment online, go to https://www.regulations.gov/search?filter=boem-2022-0009. You can also comment in writing by mail. Send to Dr. Whitney Hauer, Renewable Energy Specialist, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Office of Strategic Resources, 760 Paseo Camarillo (Suite 102), Camarillo, California 93010.
Here are some talking points to consider in preparing your comments:
- These floating offshore wind turbines will be located in the midst of the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem, one of the planet’s most productive marine areas, the habitat of abundant wildlife which could be impacted by industrial development in the ocean. Full studies of potential conflicts with wildlife should be conducted before this process goes forward, including more research on whether large numbers of turbines could damp down winds and reduce the wind-caused nutrient upwelling that drives the productivity of these areas.
- There are six proposed "Call Areas" for offshore wind development on the U.S. West Coast, all of which are within the California Current ecosystem. The cumulative impacts of development in all these areas considered together should be studied and a programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) should be done for the entire west coast before any decisions are made.
- Call Areas should be modified to minimize wildlife impacts. Sections on the eastern side of these areas as currently drawn are hot spots for marine mammals, bird species, and turtles; shaving about 15 kilometres off the east side of the call areas would alleviate the worst impacts. Likewise, the northern portion of the Coos Bay call area overlaps with the Heceta Bank, one of the most productive areas for wildlife on the entire West Coast. Consideration should be given to eliminating these sections from the Call Areas and perhaps moving the them farther offshore in deeper waters, where there would be fewer conflicts with wildlife.
- If thorough studies indicate that the harm to these important wildlife areas outweighs the benefits of wind energy production, completely halting the offshore wind energy development process should be accepted as a possible outcome.
- The process should be slowed down until full studies are done and data gaps are filled, rather than rushing to create momentum toward development by designating the Call Areas and beginning to issue leases to would-be developers.
- Full consideration should be given to onshore impacts of wind development, including cables crossing the nearshore ocean and beach, new high-voltage electricity transmission infrastructure, and construction of facilities in estuaries for building and servicing wind turbines. Possible conflicts with Oregon’s land use planning and other laws should be thoroughly considered in advance.
- If offshore wind energy facilities are developed off our shores, there will inevitably be some degree of impact to wildlife. A mitigation plan to offset such damage with improvements in other locations must be in place before the project proceeds.
Add Your Voice to Shoreline Access Survey
The Oregon Coastal Management Program has begun a study of public access to Oregon’s public shore. With more and more people visiting the coast, and many private owners seeking ways to exclude the public -- this is an increasingly important issue. You have an opportunity right now to weigh in the early stages of the process and help to shape it. A survey is available through which you can express your concerns about access to our public shore and your priorities for maintaining and expanding access in the future. To learn more about the issue and the current process for assessing access, read our full article about the study.
Here is a link to the survey. It is open until June 30.
Help Preserve Access at Lighthouse Beach
Public access has been threatened to Lighthouse Beach, a popular and well-loved stretch of shoreline near Charleston in Coos County. We stand with our colleagues in the Surfrider Foundation in working to restore the public’s long-standing access, which has now been blocked. We ask all those concerned with public access to help by contributing to the legal effort that Surfrider is heading up.
Members of the public have used a footpath off Lighthouse Way to reach this special beach for generations, but current landowners have now fenced it off. Surfrider members, Oregon Shores members (including two of our board members!) and members of the public need this pathway (the only viable means of getting to the beach here) to reach the shore not only for surfing and other recreation, but also as stewards of the beach and community.
We’re working with Surfrider’s legal team, which is currently investigating the historical public use and access at Lighthouse Beach and exploring all appropriate solutions. They need our support to continue this work. Donations to this campaign will support the effort to restore access to Lighthouse Beach, including helping to fund attorneys' fees incurred by retaining outside expert counsel. Any excess funds will be used for stewardship at Lighthouse Beach.
To contribute or to learn more, go to https://oregonshores.org/lighthouse-beach-legal-fund.
Help Update Oregon’s Rocky Habitat Management Plan
Oregon’s coast has a history of public participation, and public involvement is actually a required part of public planning. On the coast, Oregon Shores and CoastWatch encourage members and volunteers to learn about beach and rocky shore rules and regulations and to engage in their local community’s decision-making. There will be soon be opportunities to advocate for protection of key rocky habitat areas later in spring of 2022.
In 2018, the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development invited Oregon decision-makers and non-governmental organizations, including Oregon Shores, to discuss updating the 1994 Rocky Shores Management Strategy chapter of Oregon’s Territorial Sea Plan (TSP). According to the Oregon Ocean Resources Management Program, the TSP acts as a coordinated vision for marine resources in Oregon and guides the actions of state and federal agencies that are responsible for managing coastal and ocean resources in the public trust. The amended rocky habitat plan seeks to incorporate the best available science and consider the needs, concerns, and values of Oregonians balanced with the state’s goals for a resilient coastal ecosystem that can provide enduring opportunities for its users.
As part of this process, important rocky shore habitat areas are being considered for "site designation" under several protective categories. Citizens and communities were invited to propose such sites. In the first round, 12 sites were proposed (Oregon Shores was involved in supporting eight of these). The Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) favored two sites, at Coquille Point in Coos County and Cape Blanco in Curry County, recommending protective designations. In addition, six other proposals are still alive and in “continuing consultation.” They will be evaluated by OPAC sometime this spring; exact dates are yet to be determined. These sites include Ecola Point and Chapman Point in Clatsop County, Blacklock Point in Curry, Cape Foulweather, Cape Lookout in Tillamook, and Fogarty Creek and Cape Foulweather in Lincoln. The Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) and the Oregon Coastal Management Program staff will schedule and host public consultation workshops between the agencies and the proposers. Proposal authors will be provided the opportunity to present their proposals during the workshops and to describe or comment on any further work to resolve considerations identified in the process.
We will announce the schedule for these opportunities to engage and comment when they are known.
Contact CoastWatch Volunteer Coordinator Jesse Jones at [email protected] to learn more about the site designation process and the sites now under consideration, including current proposals submitted by Oregon Shores and Lincoln City Audubon to designate rocky shores on the central and north Oregon coasts for Marine Conservation Areas. Click here for more information.
Join a Citizen Scientist Project
Oregon coast citizen science projects are both seasonal and year-round. Some take place in the dunes and others in the rocky habitats or on the sandy beach. All projects consist of monitoring and surveying, and contribute information that teaches us about the health of our sea, beaches, waters and shores. Through CoastWatch, volunteers are encouraged to work with our conservation partners including local non-profits and researchers at colleges such as the University of Washington, University of Oregon, University of California and Oregon State University to monitor and survey plants and wildlife on the Oregon coast. To learn more about these opportunities, visit our Citizen Science Projects page.
Adopt a Mile of the Coast
One way to take action now, for those who are not already CoastWatchers, is to adopt a CoastWatch mile. It is our goal to attain coverage of every mile of the Oregon coast through CoastWatch on a regular basis. You can help us reach this goal by adopting a mile that is not receiving regular coverage.
Ditch Single-Use Plastic Straws
Plastic straws are among the most common items found at Portland Chapter Surfrider cleanups – both on the Oregon coast and in Portland! They are also one of the most common items found elsewhere in the country. They not biodegradable, which means that every plastic straw created is still around in some form. Plastic has a huge impact on our ecosystems, wildlife and people, and it is the chapter’s goal to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the environment.
In August 2017, the Portland Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation launched the DitchTheStrawPDX program in the Portland-Metro area. The mission of the program is to assist businesses in reducing the number of plastic straws used by their customers. The chapter provides support to these businesses who agree to go straw free for an entire month as a pilot program demonstrating that paper straws are a sustainable, cost-effective alternative.
Are You a Business Interested in Participating? Join their movement to reduce plastic straw pollution by piloting a straw-on-request program for one month. Eliminate plastic straws by only providing paper straws upon request. Click Here & Help Be Part of the Solution.
Are you an individual who wants to participate? Next time you’re out, simply ask for no straw, post a photo and tag (@SurfriderPortland) and #DitchTheStrawPDX on social media! They need your help to spread the word and the message. Interested in supporting this program as a volunteer? Contact [email protected].