Saltmarsh Seminar

January 21, 2021 - 6:00 PM
CoastWatch, City of Coos Bay, Millicoma Marsh Interpretive Trail Project

Millicoma Marsh.\Photo courtesy of Millicoma Marsh Interpretive Trail Project.

Oregon Shores, working through CoastWatch with funding from the city of Coos Bay, is supporting development of the Millicoma Marsh Interpretive Trail Project.  When completed, this will provide an educational outdoor experience for both students and the public.

Drawing from this work, we are presenting a custom-made webinar, “Saltmarshes of Oregon: Earth’s Life Incubators.”  The webinar, taking place on Thursday, Jan. 21, at 6 p.m. will introduce saltmarsh ecology, using Millicoma Marsh as a case study.  The presenters will be Jamie Fereday, a volunteer with the Millicoma Marsh Stewardship Group (and a retired Coos Bay science teacher) and Marina Richie, a natural history writer working on the interpretive trail project.

Using the Millicoma Marsh as its example, this presentation outlines what tidally influenced marshes provide to their plant and animal communities and their human neighbors, especially nearby Coos Bay schools and students. The Millicoma Marsh Stewardship Group is working with local tribes on an educational nature trail where "every step on the trail brings the buried marsh closer to the surface until you are there.” According to Marina Richie, "The hope is that visitors will think more about buried landscapes, about loss, restoration, and renewal.” Marina and Jamie Fereday trace the story of the marsh from its living, thriving origins, through its history of diking, draining, and filling, to the Coastal Zone Management Act, and up to the present day, along the way providing peeks of the trail and new signage. Highlighted is the opportunity that the marsh offers for natural resource education and the wonder that comes with place-based learning. The marsh is nearly endless in its scientific learning opportunities; tidal dynamics, the food productivity for important commercial fish, crabs, oysters and clams, how natural hydraulic systems keep communities safe from toxins and floods, and how marshes serve as an important source of carbon storage. The presentation features artwork of plant and animal species that will be featured along the trail like edible pickleweed (Salicornia) and the White-tailed Kite.

To register for the webinar, contact Jesse Jones, CoastWatch volunteer coordinator, at [email protected].

Donations can be made to support the completion of the trail project. If interested, contact Crystal Vader at Coos Bay Schools or send a check to Millicoma Marsh Fund #236, Coos Bay Schools, 1255 Hemlock Ave., Coos Bay, OR 97420.