Sea otter and kelp.

Sea otter and kelp.Photo courtesy of Elakha Alliance.

Oregon Shores has long supported the efforts of the Elakha Alliance to build a case for restoring a population of sea otters to the Oregon coast. Driven extinct in this state early in the last century, sea otters have been a key missing piece in nearshore ocean and estuarine ecology.

These efforts have attracted the notice of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which is the federal agency which would have to approve such a reintroduction. The FWS is now hosting 16 public open houses with communities in Northern California and Oregon (eight in our state, plus one just over the border in Crescent City) to gather input on the potential reintroduction of sea otters to their historical range. The open houses will provide communities and stakeholders an opportunity to ask questions, share perspectives and speak with FWS staff about sea otters and next steps in recovery effort–including the potential reintroduction process, should a proposal move forward.  

It is vitally important that those who care about our marine ecosystems speak out about their support for reintroducing sea otters. The Elakha Alliance is asking those speaking out for sea otters to let them know they plan to participate. Let them know here.

The southern sea otter, one of three subspecies of sea otter, is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. As directed by Congress, the Service assessed reintroduction feasibility in 2022. The assessment concluded that reintroduction was biologically feasible and may have significant benefits for a variety of species in the marine ecosystem and expedite the recovery of the threatened southern sea otter.  

The assessment also concluded that additional information about how reintroduction would affect stakeholders and local communities was needed before considering the next steps. There is no active proposal to reintroduce sea otters at this time. 

The open houses will help FWS gather further information to inform next steps. Community values and issues are critical in the process. Input from the public and key stakeholders, including ocean users, will be a foundational component in establishing next steps including whether or not a potential reintroduction is proposed, as well as ensuring that proposals are crafted in a way that benefits stakeholders and local communities.     

Open houses will be held in the following communities in Oregon (plus Crescent City, for those on the south coast who might have a conflict with the meeting time in Brookings): 

Astoria: June 20, 5:30-8 p.m., Astoria Elks Lodge #180, 453 11th St.

Garibaldi: June 21, 10:30 a.m-1 p.m.,  Old Mill RV Resort, 210 South 3rd St.

Newport: June 21, 5:30-8:30 p.m., Newport Recreation Center, Multipurpose Room, 225 SE Avery St.

Florence: June 22, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Lane Community College, Florence Center, Room 103, 3149 Oak St., Florence.

Coos Bay: June 22, 5:30-8 p.m., Southern Oregon Community College, Empire Hall, Lakeview Rooms E, F, & G, 1988 Newmark Ave.

Port Orford: June 23, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Port Orford Library, Large Conference Room 1421 Oregon St.

Gold Beach: June 23, 5-8:00 p.m., Curry County Library, Meeting Hall 94341 3rd St.

Brookings: June 24, 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m., Coastal Community Center (located inside Coastal Home, Health, and Hospice), 585 5th St.

Crescent City: June 24, 5:30-8:00 p.m., Del Norte Recreation Department, Gymnasium, 1005 H St.

The Service encourages interested stakeholders and publics to drop in any time during the open houses. Full details and open house information are also available online at

To ask questions or seek more information, go here.