New publication seeks to understand the roles of Oregon’s non-consumptive recreational ocean users

The following publication is available from Oregon Sea Grant.

It may also be purchased from Oregon Sea Grant.

Oregon’s Non-Consumptive Recreational Ocean User Community: Understanding an ocean stakeholder

While some types of ocean use, such as recreational and commercial fishing, have received research attention, little research has been directed at Oregon’s non-consumptive recreational ocean users.

Surfers, kayakers, kiteboarders, boat-based nature viewers, divers, wind surfers, and boaters are among Oregon’s non-consumptive recreational ocean users. They are neighbors and business owners, community leaders and family members, employees and friends. They are an important group of people making economic and cultural contributions to coastal communities, and one with a stake in the outstanding public ocean resources near and far from Oregon’s shores.

Non-consumptive recreational ocean users are often stewards of the beaches and sea, and they are coming to play on the ocean from all over Oregon and beyond. They are also currently underrepresented in the literature, and are poorly understood. This publication seeks to remedy that situation.

A report to the Port Orford community on the potential effects of climate change

The following publication is available from Oregon Sea Grant.

Working Group Considers Effects of a Changing Climate: A Report to the Port Orford Community

This report summarizes the activities to plan for climate change undertaken cooperatively by Oregon Sea Grant and a working group of Port Orford (Ore.) citizens from January 2009 to August 2010. The working group had no official capacity; they simply had a shared interest in how the community might adapt to a changing climate.

The Oregon Sea Grant communications and Extension faculty involved considered this a pilot project and tested methods and tools, including the development of concept maps (to make group thinking visible) and pre- and post-project participant surveys. This short report is intended for distribution in Port Orford, but the methods and tools are discussed in other publications linked at

Some local results: After hearing the working group’s presentation on the potential effects of a changing climate, the Port Orford Planning Commission agreed unanimously that climate change must be considered when reviewing city ordinances, the Port Orford Comprehensive Plan, and land-development proposals.

New publication looks at helping coastal communities prepare for greater resilience in the face of climate change

The following publication is available as a free download from Oregon Sea Grant.

It may also be purchased from Oregon Sea Grant.

Coastal Resilience: Assisting Communities in the Face of Climate Change

Community resilience is the ability of a community to respond to or recover from systemic disturbances, including climate-related effects on the environment, economy, and society. In coastal areas, where communities are particularly vulnerable (as Hurricanes Katrina and Ivan demonstrated), this topic has sparked considerable interest among academics and agencies, though examples of communities working toward resilience in any systematic way appear to be few. Nevertheless, preparing coastal communities for greater resilience in the context of a changing climate is a critical activity for many U.S. coastal professionals.

To address a need for greater interchange between researchers and community practitioners, Oregon Sea Grant facilitated a teleconference among 13 diverse national experts. This dynamic discussion, which includes first-hand accounts of participant experiences as well as discussions about how to define, approach, and “achieve” resilience, is transcribed here.

This exchange of information, experience, and ideas will be of interest to other researchers and practitioners and may, over time, contribute to coastal community resilience.

Oregon Sea Grant has reduced the price of one of its most popular DVDs

We’ve reduced the price of one of our most popular DVDs. The Watersheds and Salmon Collection DVD is now priced at $12.95 (was $29.95) plus shipping and handling. It contains the following four videos:

Life Cycle of the Salmon (5 minutes)
Governor Kitzhaber Interview (9 minutes)
The Return of the Salmon (33 minutes)
Salmon: Why Bother? (12 minutes)

You may purchase Watersheds and Salmon Collection DVD online from Oregon Sea Grant.

NOAA begins Newport move-in

New NOAA fleet headquarters, NewportNEWPORT – With little fanfare, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has begun moving in to its new port facility here, soon to be home to the agency’s Pacific research fleet.

NOAA officials accepted the keys to the new facility on April 29, five days ahead of the construction deadline, and met with Port of Newport officials to sign the final documents of a 20-year lease on the property, situated on Yaquina Bay across from Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center.

Among those taking part in the signing was retired Oregon Sea Grant Extension agent Ginny Goblirsch, now president of the Newport Port Commission.

The new Marine Operations Center and its long dock will become home base for the  vessels of NOAA’s North Pacific fleet: the Miller Freeman, the McArthur II,  the Rainier, the Oscar Dyson, and the  Bell M. Shimada (the agency’s newest research ship).

The agency’s decision to move the center to Newport from its longtime base in Lake Union, WA, sparked political outcries from lawmakers and local governments in the Seattle area, and an equally strong show of support from the Oregon community. The decision survived multiple political and procedural challenges, largely because of cost-savings the federal government hopes to realize from its initial 20-year lease with the Port of Newport. Groundbreaking took place last June, and construction crews have been working ever since to complete the complex of docks and support buildings that make up the new center.

NOAA’s lease on its Washington facility expires on June 30, and the agency has already begun moving personnel and equipment south. Once the ships and support personnel have settled in, there are plans for a public open house in mid-July, and an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 12.

Read more…

NOAA Marine Operations Center under construction

(Aerial photo courtesy of NOAA; ground-level photo by Pat Kight, Oregon Sea Grant)

New publication explores structured decision making

New publications look at science communicationA new publication from Oregon Sea Grant looks at structured ways in which groups of people can come together to understand a problem and overcome common human errors in judgment as they evaluate potential solutions.

Structured Decision Making: Using decision research to improve stakeholder participation and results is the latest title in Oregon Sea Grant’s series on the research and practice of public science communication.

Written by Robyn S. Wilson, assistant professor of Risk and Decision Science, at The Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources, and Joseph L. Arvai, Svare Chair in Applied Decision Research at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business and Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment, and Economy, the 12-page publication looks at recent research on group decision-making, and offers guidelines for developing a process that’s likely to produce results.

“Stakeholders” – those who have an interest in a particular project or problem – are often invited to take part in public hearings, workshops and meetings; many times, the authors note, the results are less than satisfying for everyone involved. Too often, such meetings “give the impression that opportunities for input are simply a diversion to draw attention away from where the “real” decisions are being made.”

Better results can be achieved, the authors suggest, by  using structured, research-proven processes in which participants have an opportunity to “understand the problem, express and clarify their issue-specific values and concerns, and carefully weigh the pros and cons of different actions or options.”

The new publication provides an overview of structured decision making (SDM), an outline of how it can work, and discussion of pitfalls that can get in the way of success. References to specific SDM tools are included.

Other titles in the Sea Grant series look at topics including:

  • Insights from behavioral research for those who communicate with the public
  • Common assumptions about public communication
  • Public outreach and behavior change
  • Understanding specific stakeholder communities

All five publications are available as free downloads, in printable .pdf and text-only versions, from the Oregon Sea Grant Web site.