Oregon Sea Grant video cover wins Silver Award

Coastal Climate Change coverThe cover for Oregon Sea Grant’s video Preparing for Coastal Climate Change: What Oregonians Are Asking has won a Silver Award in the “Best Cover—Print/Other” category of the 2011 Magnum Opus Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Custom Media. There were 560 entries in this year’s competition, and the Silver Award was the top award given in the “Best Cover” category.

According to Magnum Opus, professors from the Missouri School of Journalism, along with leading custom-publishing professionals, judge the awards based on “informational and entertainment value, quality of writing and display copy, creative use of imagery and typography, and consistency of color palette and style.”

David Murray, director of the awards competition and editor-in-chief of ContentWise, said, “Your entry shone bright among an incredibly competitive field and bested the work submitted by your peers in the practice of marketing communications from around the globe. You should be proud.”

The jacket and label for Preparing for Coastal Climate Change were designed by Patricia Andersson of Oregon Sea Grant. The video was produced by Joe Cone, assistant director of Oregon Sea Grant; edited by Stevon Roberts; and supported in part by a grant from the NOAA Climate Program Office.

Copies of the video are available for $3 each plus shipping and handling from Oregon Sea Grant, 541-737-4849; or through Oregon Sea Grant’s e-commerce site at marketplace.oregonstate.edu. You may also view excerpts of the video on Sea Grant’s website.

Oregon Sea Grant fact sheets win Apex Award of Excellence

A set of nine Oregon Sea Grant fact sheets about low impact development has won an Award of Excellence in the “Green” Electronic Media and Video category of the 2011 Apex Awards.

According to Apex, there were 3,329 entries in this year’s competition. Awards were based on “excellence in graphic design, editorial content, and the success of the entry — in the opinion of the judges — in achieving overall communications effectiveness and excellence.”

The fact sheets, which cover low impact construction techniques to enhance water quality and quantity, were written by Derek Godwin and Marissa Sowles of Oregon Sea Grant Extension, along with Maria Cahill of Green Girl Development. Oregon Sea Grant’s Patricia Andersson designed the layout template, and Rick Cooper edited the publications and coordinated production.

All nine low impact development fact sheets are available for free download from Oregon Sea Grant at http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/sgpubs/onlinepubs.html#new.

Ocean acidification: Trouble for oysters

Tiny oyster larvae, compared to a nickelCould increases in ocean acidity be partly to blame for larval die-offs that have plagued Northwest oyster producers for much of the past decade? Scientists and growers believe that may be the case – and they’re struggling to help the region’s lucrative shellfish industry adapt to the risk.

In a recent blog post for the Sightline Institute, a Pacific Northwest sustainable policy center, former Seattle Post-Intelligencer reporter Jennifer Langston talks to growers and scientist who are concerned about ocean acidification and the threat it poses for oyster growers in the Pacific Northwest.

According to Langston, West Coast oyster production dropped from 94 million pounds in 2005 to 73 million pounds in 2009, resulting in an $11 million loss in sales for what had become a $72 million-a-year industry.

Langston interviewed researchers at Oregon State University who have embarked on a major, multi-year investigation of  the effects of ocean acidification on oyster production. Among that team is OSU researcher Chris Langdon, who has received Oregon Sea Grant support for his research on the health and production of oysters, abalone and other shellfish.

While Langdon and others have identified toxic organisms  such as Vibrio tubiashii as part of the problem, there are also signs that increasing ocean acidity is playing a role in the die-off of larval oysters, which appears to worsen when ocean temperatures and currents cause water that’s high in carbon dioxide and low in pH (acidic) to well up and mix with the “good” water normally found in the oyster breeding beds.

Using what researchers have learned from their ongoing study of the issue, two major oyster producers have been able to adapt their practices to ocean conditions. Using a monitoring buoy as an early alert to changes in seawater chemistry, they were able to schedule production for “good water” periods, resulting in a strong rebound in production in the 2010 season. But concern about the state of the oceans remains.

Read the entire article in Sightline Institute’s blog.

Read more about the NOAA research project and how it has helped growers adjust their aquaculture practices.

[Photo courtesy of OSU Extension Service]

National Ocean Council to meet in Portland July 1

PORTLAND, OR – Members of the National Ocean Council will convene at Portland State University on July 1 for the last stop in their “regional listening sessions” tour of the US.

Experts from the Council’s 27 Federal agencies and offices have been busy drafting strategic action plans to achieve nine national priority objectives that address some of the most pressing challenges facing our ocean, coasts, and Great Lakes.  Having already received solicited and received initial comments on the plans, the council is asking for citizen comments on the strategic action plan outlines they have developed.

The Portland stop is the last of a dozen public listening sessions designed to gather further comments on the plans while they are still in the draft stage. The session will take place at PSU’s University Place, 310 SW Lincoln Street.

The PSU meeting, which will be chaired by NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco, runs from 9-11 am on July 1; those interested in attending are asked to preregister online.

The current strategic action plan drafts, covering priority areas from marine spatial planning to regional ecosystem protection and restoration, can be read at http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/oceans/sap


Campground education helps slow spread of invasives via firewood

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon Sea Grant researchers have found that a focused education and outreach campaign targeted at something most people can easily relate to – campfires and the firewood burned in campgrounds – contributes to behavioral changes to slow the spread of invasive species.

The study, the first of its kind in the U.S., was part of a two-year campaign led by invasive species councils in Oregon, Idaho and Washington to encourage people not to transport firewood.

Many insects and diseases that threaten natural resources in the Pacific Northwest can lie dormant, on or in firewood for up to two years, and researchers discovered that some firewood sold or brought to Oregon originated from as far away as the East Coast of the U.S., New Zealand and Russia.

Before the study started, entomologists associated with the project found 20 specimens of live invasive species in just six bundles of firewood purchased at grocery stores.

The study assessed the effectiveness of the educational campaign, as well as how much campers know about firewood as a vector of invasive species, the sources of firewood transported to campgrounds, and how campers can play a role in slowing the spread of invasive species.

“We wanted something that would clearly represent the problem, and we felt that firewood is so iconic that using it as an educational tool would help people better understand that humans are vectors of invasive species,” said Sam Chan, Sea Grant’s invasive species and watershed health specialist at Oregon State University. “Campers transporting firewood across borders and ecosystems can unknowingly spread invasive species.”

Read more at OSU News & Research Communications

Study of Pacific predators shows importance of biological “hotspots”

Blue WhaleNEWPORT, Ore. – An unprecedented decade-long study of apex predators in the Pacific Ocean found a wider range of distribution among some species than previously thought, unknown relationships between other species, and the importance of biological “hotspots” to the survival of most of these sea creatures.

The field program, dubbed Tagging of Pacific Predators – or TOPP – looked at 23 species from 2000-09 and included researchers from multiple institutions.

Results of the study are being published this week in the journal Nature.

“One thing that quickly became apparent is that there are many similarities among top predators in the California Current System,” said Bruce Mate, a former Sea Grant specialist who directs the Marine Mammal Institute at Oregon State University and co-authored the study. “There is a strong overlap in territory, for example, between blue whales and tuna. Blue whales eat krill; the tuna eat fish that eat the krill.

“But the krill, and the ocean conditions that promote its abundance, are key to both species,” added Mate, who directed the cetacean portion of the TOPP study. “When there are hotspots of krill or other food, the apex predators need to find them.”

Read more from OSU News & Research Communication…

(Photo credit: Bruce Mate/OSU News & Research Communication)

New video explains Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning

Coastal and marine spatial planning is a critical emerging topic in ocean management, policy and science – and a major thrust of Oregon Sea Grant’s strategic plan for the coming years. It’s all about managing multiple ocean uses and needs in ways that minimize conflict, protect vital resources and sustain the ocean’s ability to provide many things to many people, from food to energy to a healthy planet. Yet the topic is little known or understood outside of regulatory and academic circles.

To learn more about what CMSP is – and is not – check out this new, narrated video from the National Sea Grant Law Center:

(Based at the Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant program at the University of Mississippi, the National Sea Grant Law Center provides legal research, education, training, outreach and advice on issues of ocean and coastal law.)

Sea Grant community assistance on climate changes: new article

The Western Rural Development Center’s June issue of its Rural Connections magazine focuses on “climate change adaptations” and features a story about Sea Grant assistance in two Oregon coast communities dealing with effects of a changing climate. The communities aren’t named in the article [download the pdf] because the focus is on the different approaches taken in them, labelled for contrast as “classical” and “jazz.”

“Adapting to climate change will likely require a variety of approaches, as every community will have different needs, priorities, and resources,” write Joe Cone, Jenna Borberg, and Miriah Russo. “Outreach and engagement professionals have a variety of methodologies that can be employed,” and the Sea Grant authors hope the description of their approaches will stimulate their peers and ultimately lead to successful local climate adaptations.


OSG Specialist Named to Important Role in Fishery Management

Jeffrey N. Feldner has been appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to the Pacific Fishery Management Council for a three-year term that starts in August. Feldner, an Oregon Sea Grant Extension faculty member based in Newport, will serve as an “at-large” member of the Pacific Council—and does not officially represent Sea Grant nor Oregon State University. The Council, one of eight regional councils established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, prepare fishery management plans for marine fish stocks in their regions.

Jeff Feldner (photo: Lynn Ketchum, EESC)

Feldner has been an Oregon commercial fisherman since the 1970s and a Sea Grant fisheries specialist since 2006. He takes his council place along with other members from Oregon, California, Idaho, and Washington. NOAA’s Fisheries Service annually solicits nominations from the governors of fishing states and oversees the annual appointment process. The Secretary must select council members from the list of nominees provided by the governors to fill council seats that have become available due to an expiring term, a resignation or other reasons.

Sea Grant’s Jeff Feldner on seafood and Fukushima radiation

Oregon Sea Grant Extension fisheries specialist Jeff Felder is interviewed by Russia’s RIANOVOSTI news about US concerns for seafood safety in the aftermath of the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear reactors. Jeff’s assessment: While it’s likely detectable increases in seafood radiation levels will eventually show up in Pacific Northwest waters, it’s too early to tell how soon it will happen or how high the levels will be. The research he’s seen suggests the radition is unlikely to reach levels dangerous to consumers.

Watch the interview: