Whale Watch Week is coming up

Gray whaleVolunteers take their positions at state parks up and down the Oregon Coast next Saturday to help visitors look for migrating gray whales during the annual Winter Whale Watch Week, Dec. 26-Jan. 1.

The program, launched by Oregon Sea Grant’s Don Giles in 1978 and now coordinated by the Oregon State Parks and Recreation’s Depoe Bay Whale Center, draws thousands of winter visitors to the coast each year, armed with binoculars in hopes of spotting some of the giant marine mammals as they migrate south to their  breeding grounds off Mexico’s Baja California.

To learn more about whales and their migrations before you head to the coast, download the free Sea Grant publication, Gray Whales, from our Web site, in English and Spanish language versions, as a printable .pdf or a fast-loading text version. Also available: A Watching Whales fact sheet with tips for spotting the animals – and how to tell a whale spout from a wave –  is also available.

When you need to warm up, stop by OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Visitor Center, open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. every day of Whale Watch Week except Jan. 1  with special programs and activities, including a daily marine mammal program in Hennings Auditorium featuring hands-on baleen, skulls and other whale “biofacts”.  The Center is also a great place to find out where whales are being seen – they’ll be keeping a running list of reported sightings and locations.

For more information, including a list of parks where volunteers will be stationed, visit the Whale Spoken Here Web site.

OSG, ODFW offer two new fellowships

Postgraduate students in fisheries and related fields are eligible to apply for two new natural resources fellowships that will give them a year of on-the-ground work in resource conservation and management.

The fellowships, part of the Sea Grant Scholars program are a collaborative effort between Oregon Sea Grant and the Oregon Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. They are open to any PhD. or Masters level graduating student or recent graduate who will have completed a degree in marine ecology, zoology, fisheries, resource management, or related fields by the time the fellowships start.

The purpose is to provide two postgraduates with one year each of technical work experience and training while contributing to ODFW mission to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations.

Both fellows will be based at ODFW’s office in Newport, OR. One will concentrate on historical rockfish catch in Oregon’s commercial and sport fisheries; the other will work on a quantitative description of bottom-dwelling invertebrates in Oregon’s rocky nearshore zone.

For more information about these and other Sea Grant Scholars opportunities, visit:


Oregon coast climate change videos online

Five new, short videos about climate change at the Oregon coast produced by Oregon Sea Grant respond to the concerns of coastal residents. Those concerns, expressed through a 2008 survey of 300 coastal Oregonians, frame the topics of the videos:  How do scientists predict climate change? Shoreline Effects of Climate Change, Broader Coastal Ocean Effects, What is Government Doing?

Joes4_still An Introduction video provides background on the set. The videos, hosted by Sea Grant climate change specialists, focus answers to Oregonians’ questions through interviews with experts, including scientists from NOAA and OSU  and coastal planners. The producer of the climate videos is Joe Cone, assistant director of Oregon Sea Grant; editor is Stevon Roberts; the videos were supported in part by a grant from the NOAA Climate Program Office. Transcripts are available on the video pages.

New publication reveals perceptions and opinions of climate change


A new publication from Oregon Sea Grant, An Analysis of a Survey of Oregon Coast Decision Makers Regarding Climate Change, reveals that

• most people are concerned about climate change and how it may affect the Oregon coast
• the most frequently cited risks associated with effects of climate change on the Oregon coast involved physical processes such as sea-level rise and erosion
• few are ready now to respond to climate change
• people would be willing to take action in work if there were compelling information, new funding, and a sense of local urgency
• coastal professionals have needs for assistance regarding climate change, particularly credible, relevant information to provide the public
• coastal professionals have low amounts of information on climate change topics they consider important for the performance of their work

You can order this 20-page publication (color cover, B&W insides) for $3.50 plus shipping and handling by calling 541-737-4849 or e-mailing sea.grant.communications@oregonstate.edu. You may also download it from http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/sgpubs/onlinepubs.html#socialsci

OPB Highlights Sea Grant in Climate Story

Oregon Public Broadcasting recently completed a three-part series, The Denmark Project, to coincide with the Copenhagen (Denmark) Climate summit but cleverly framed around the coastal region nearby tiny Denmark, Oregon.

Interviewed in the series were Sea Grant principal investigator, Peter Ruggiero (OSU Geosciences), Extension faculty member, Frank Burris; and Sea Grant assistant director, Joe Cone. The climate preparation project Cone has led with other Sea Grant faculty in collaboration with members of the Port Orford community is highlighted in the final episode (transcript).

OPB producer Christy George reports that the series has achieved some national prominence by being featured on the newly-revamped PBS NewsHour site, where at least 250 users had checked it out.

Oregon Sea Grant climate video receives gold award

The video, Building a Resilient Coast: Maine Confronts Climate Change, was produced in cooperation with Maine Sea Grant under a grant from the NOAA Climate Program Office. The gold prize is from the international Ava Awards (Audio/Visual Awards), which “recognize outstanding work by creative professionals involved in the concept, writing, direction, shooting, and editing of audio/visual materials and programs.” Twelve percent of this year’s entries received a gold prize.

The creative personnel of Resilient Coast are from Oregon Sea Grant: Joe Cone is the producer, videographer, and writer; Stevon Roberts, editor; Patricia Andersson, designer. Susan White, associate director of Maine Sea Grant, is the co-producer. The video was released on DVD in summer 2009 and on the Oregon and Maine Sea Grant web sites; it has also been shown on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.

Resilient Coast was guided by preliminary research conducted with Maine coastal property owners to determine what climate-related issues they were concerned about. Individual segments of the one-hour program address those concerns. One very short excerpt follows. The entire program can be viewed at


The Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP) administers the Ava Awards program. The international organization consists of several thousand marketing, communication, advertising, public relations, media production and free-lance professionals.

NOAA launches marine planning site

A new Web site from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) gives visitors tools to learn about marine spatial planning – the ocean equivalent of land-use planning.

The site, at www.msp.noaa.gov, not only lays out basic concepts, but helps visitors  stay on top of current  news and information about marine spatial planning initiatives in the U.S., at both the federal and state levels.

The site also provides access to the tools and data used by organizations involved in marine spatial planning, including mapping and modeling tools, downloadable software and direct access to relevant government databases.

The site’s “In Practice” section profiles a number of state and regional projects involving marine spatial planning, including current Oregon efforts to plan for offshore wave energy projects.