In December, Oregon Shores successfully proposed to the state’s Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC) that it is high time that Oregon revisit its management policies regarding our rocky shore areas.  A new OPAC working group was created, chaired by Robin Hartmann, Oregon Shores’ Ocean Policy Advocate, to review policies adopted in 1994 but never fully implemented.

Now the initiative moves to the land use side of the equation (since rocky shores fall within the territory of Statewide Planning Goal #19, which concerns Oregon’s Territorial Sea.

The Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission (LCDC) began considering the issue during their Thursday, March 10 meeting in Gold Beach.  The commissioners were briefed about OPAC’s decision to review the Rocky Shores Strategy in the Territorial Sea Plan.

LCDC is authorized by state law to approve both the initial adoption and subsequent amendments to the Territorial Sea Plan but can only do so after first receiving a recommendation for amendment from OPAC, which is what the working group headed by Robin Hartmann will be considering. Oregon Shores will work on both sides of the equation as consideration of an updated policy goes forward.

The original plan contained specific recommendations for managing each of 87 rocky shore areas along Oregon’s shoreline; some were implemented by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, but most were not.  Oregon Shores has been concerned ever since that our rocky shore habitats were not receiving sufficient scrutiny or protection, and has made updating and strengthening the Rocky Shores Strategy a priority for 2016.  We will actively engage with OPAC’s review of current management levels, and advocate for better protection.

For more on the history of this issue, see the background briefing prepared by Oregon Shores board member Bob Bailey.