People Profiles give us an opportunity to get to know our colleagues a little better. Say hello to Tracy Crews, Oregon Sea Grant marine education manager.
What is your connection to Sea Grant Extension? I oversee the youth and family programs, as well as professional development educator at Hatfield Marine Science Center, connecting participants to coastal and marine research. I also coordinate programming for the Oregon Coast STEM Hub, which serves coastal communities from Astoria to Brookings.
How long have you been doing outreach and engagement work? I started out my career as a graduate research assistant for Virginia Sea Grant’s Marine Advisory Program working on fisheries-related issues and have been engaged in some form of outreach and education ever since.
What’s the best job you’ve ever had? My current position. Over the nine years I have held this position, I have worked with a wonderful group of employees and partners and have been able to grow the program in exciting new ways to meet the changing needs of our stakeholders. Developing the statewide underwater robotics competition is just one example.
What’s the best part of your current job? Empowering people and seeing them develop new skills, whether it is my staff, educators, or students. Witnessing the excitement and pride of others as they accomplish new things is extremely gratifying.
Where did you grow up? A little town called Jollyville, Texas, in the hill country surrounding Austin. It has since been developed and incorporated and is now officially part of Austin.
Do you have any pets? A golden retriever named Willow and a cat named Misty.
Do you have any hobbies? Living in Yachats, I love to spend time at the beach and gardening, and I am an avid crafter.
Where is the last best place you went on vacation?At the end of every summer, my son and I travel to a different place in the world. Last summer it was Fiji. This summer, we are headed to the Big Island of Hawaii.
If you could meet anyone in history, who would it be? As a kid growing up in land-locked Texas watching Jacques Cousteau, I really would have loved to have a chance to meet him in person as he set me on the path that has led me to where I am today.
What was your favorite subject in school?Biology (no surprise there!).
We are profiling faculty and staff involved the outreach and engagement work featured on the University Outreach and Engagement blog. Please say hello to Amanda Gladics, Coastal Fisheries Extension Faculty, Oregon Sea Grant and Extension Service – Clatsop County, Coast Region.
How long have you worked with OSU Extension Service? I started with OSU Extension Service last July, but I have been working or studying at OSU in some capacity since 2007.
What’s the best part of the work you’re doing? Getting to work with such a variety of people and feeling really connected to my community.
What work accomplishment are you most proud of? My recent research into albatross bycatch reduction in longline fisheries on the West Coast was incorporated into guidance that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided to NOAA Fisheries and will be incorporated into fisheries management policy. It was really satisfying to see research that was driven by fishermen’s questions result in common sense policy that will work better for fishermen and save seabirds.
What area of research is of particular interest to you? My research background is in marine ecology and fisheries bycatch reduction, and I’m still interested in food web ecology and fisheries management research. I’m finding myself more and more interested in social sciences as we face the challenge of managing coupled human-ecological systems like fisheries.
Would you rather be completely invisible for one day or be able to fly for one day? Having spent the last 9 years working with birds in some capacity, I would definitely rather fly for a day.
What is something uplifting happening in the world right now? I think there are so many uplifting things happening in the world – especially if we focus our attention locally. Here in Astoria, we just had our second Pride parade along the Riverwalk a few weeks ago. I got to march with the North Coast Food Web and it was really inspiring to see a small, coastal community like Astoria embrace love in all its forms.
What food do you know you shouldn’t eat but can’t help yourself? Fancy COFFEE!!!! Good coffee is irresistible.
What is your favorite holiday? Spring Equinox – I love Oregon’s spring, and the equinox always is about the time where I really notice the days getting brighter.
Do you prefer summer or winter activities? Summer. I like to run, and it’s less fun to run in the rain and dark.
What is a fashion trend you are really glad went away? Oversized skater pants.
Do you engage in social media? If yes, what’s your favorite social media platform (for work and/or play)? I’m on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, but I’m the most active on Twitter @agladics. I generally just lurk and like on Facebook. I use Instagram for posting pictures of food, travel, and chickens.
Do you have any pets? How long have you and your pet(s) known each other? I have three chickens: Ophelia, Sprite and Butterbean. We’ve had Ophelia (a drama queen and alpha hen) for four years, and Sprite and Butterbean since February 2016.
Based on the abstract for the University Outreach and Engagement 2017 Vice Provost Awards of Excellence nomination
Federal and State agencies in Oregon and the Pacific Northwest have invested millions of dollars assessing watershed health and identifying habitat restoration opportunities. Unfortunately, many restoration efforts lack a clear process for prioritization of projects, leading to inefficient application of scarce financial and personnel resources.
In 2005, Guillermo Giannico (PI) and Jon Souder (co-PI) obtained National Sea Grant funding for a collaborative project between OSU Forestry Extension, Oregon Sea Grant and the Coos Watershed Association (CoosWA) to develop a series of watershed restoration plans for six lowland coastal basins north of Coos Bay. Some of the main collaborators in the development of the decision making process included Drs. Phil Roni, Tim Beechie and George Pess (NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center, USA), Dr. Gordie Reeves (U.S. Forest Service), Pam Blake (Oregon Department of Environmental Quality), Bruce Miller (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife), Criag Cornue (South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve), and others.
Giannico is an Extension Fish Ecology and Watershed Specialist, has an Oregon Sea Grant appointment and is an associate professor of Fisheries and Wildlife in the College of Agricultural Sciences. Souder is an Extension Forestry and Natural Resources Specialist and assistant professor of Forestry Engineering Resources and Management in the College of Forestry.
There are at least six reasons to prioritize restoration projects. In addition to the fact that funders are asking for it, prioritization:
Leads to strategic planning and evaluation.
Recognizes capacity constraints.
Turns assessments into action plans.
Makes tradeoffs explicit.
Gives the ability to say “no!”
In order to maximize public involvement, a series of coffee klatches, i.e., informal conversations, were held within each basin to elicit landowner visions and concerns. Associated with the conversations, work with Oregon scientists led to the development of a flexible and transparent restoration prioritization process that considers both ecological and socio-economic criteria. The process is called the Coos Bay Prioritization Approach (CBPA).
The CBPA was completed in 2008 and has been applied to restoration plans for 14 watersheds on the South Coast. An outcome of these assessments was the establishment of the Partnership for Coastal Watersheds (PCW), a joint effort with the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve.
The PCW convened a multi-stakeholder group and used the CBPA to revise the Coos Bay Estuary Management Plan. In addition, a multi-agency group led by the Wild Salmon Center has identified the CBPA as the preferred method for Coastal Watershed Council. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is considering requiring the CBPA for any project requesting state funding to restore Coho habitat on the coast. Several watershed councils in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia have adopted CBPA.
During 2016, Giannico and Souder hosted three workshops, which included 55 participants from 45 organizations in 10 states (and Korea). Many of these participants have requested additional training. International workshops also were conducted in the Netherlands, Spain, Czech Republic, Italy, and Mexico.
Words of advice from Drs. Giannico and Souder: “Get out of the office and partner with community organizations!”
The prioritization of watershed projects was recognized as one of 10 outreach and engagement projects to receive the 2017 Vice Provost Awards of Excellence.
Written by Gregg Kleiner and Tiffany Woods for Oregon Sea Grant (April 17, 2017)
Editor’s Note: This story is a great example of outreach and engagement work: co-creation of solutions, cross-disciplinary collaboration, applied research, building community capacity, partnerships, and more.
West Coast crabbers and faculty with Oregon State University and Sea Grant programs in Oregon and Washington have been exploring ways to reduce injuries at sea.
“The ideas are generated by the fishermen, and the goal is that the solutions are voluntarily embraced and are not imposed,” said Laurel Kincl, the leader of the project and an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences.
To gather the suggestions as well as build rapport with the fishermen, nine community members with ties to the fishing industry were contracted, including several fishermen’s wives. Kincl and others then trained them to conduct outreach, engagement and research.
As part of the project, in the fall of 2015, the nine community members surveyed 365 crabbers in Washington, Oregon and California about the types and number of injuries they may have experienced during the 2014-15 crabbing season. The crabbers reported 65 injuries, 36 of which required them to take time off work or change how they worked. Of those 36, sprains and strains were the most frequent, with 13 incidents. Out of the 36 injuries, hands, arms and shoulders were the most commonly injured body parts, with 17 reports. Nine of the 36 injuries occurred while handling gear on deck, and seven happened while hauling in gear.
When asked what they thought contributed most to injuries, fishermen gave answers that included not paying attention, weather and sea conditions, inexperience, unsafe vessels or gear, a lack of training, and poor physical shape. When asked what they thought was the most important thing for staying safe, responses included having a good captain and crew, being aware, taking care of oneself, avoiding fatigue and having a well-maintained boat and gear.
Fishermen suggested the need for a fishing-specific first aid and CPR course. As a result, a wilderness medicine expert was invited to the Oregon towns of Newport and Astoria in the fall of 2016 to train fishermen on how to treat medical conditions and at-sea injuries such as cuts, broken bones, dislocated shoulders and hypothermia.
Another fisherman suggested looking at the design of banger bars, which are metal bars that are welded to the tables where crabs are sorted. Crab pots are hoisted over and slammed against the bars to force the crabs onto the table.
“Some say the bars make it easier on fishermen’s wrists and backs if positioned correctly,” said Kaety Jacobson, a marine fisheries Extension specialist with Oregon Sea Grant and a partner on the project. “But there’s not a standard design, so crabbers make their own – if they use them at all. We’re pretty sure someone has come up with the ideal banger bar, so we’re trying to find that design and share it with the community.”
The research team is considering using fishermen-focused Facebook pages, like the Oregon Sea Grant Fisheries Extension Facebook page, to ask for information about the use, design and benefits of the bars. With this information, she said, Sea Grant could create a publication on what a banger bar is and why fishermen use them. It could also include photos or schematics of designs that work better.
Also because of fishermen’s feedback, Jacobson and the nine community members will interview experienced deckhands and boat captains about what makes a good crew, how to size up a boat to see if it’s safe, and what safety-related language fishermen should look for when signing a contract to become a crew member. Jacobson and her team plan to share this information with novice or aspiring crewmembers.
“We’ll put these findings in an infographic or factsheet that we’ll post on social media or mail out so that fishermen looking for work can have that resource,” she said.
Importance to Oregon
During the 2015–16 season, fishermen in Oregon landed just over 14 million pounds of Dungeness crab, which they sold for a record $51 million, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Dubbed the official state crustacean, Dungeness crabs make up the most valuable single-species commercial fishery in Oregon.
[Editor’s note: This article appears in the Fall/Winter 2016 issue of Confluence, Oregon Sea Grant’s quarterly newsletter.]
A dozen fourth- and fifth-grade Girl Scouts splash in the shade-dappled shallows of Rock Creek, southwest of Corvallis, trying to scoop up tiny aquatic insects with small dip nets and deposit them into plastic dish tubs.
They’re learning about their watershed—and getting a taste of what it’s like to be a scientist—thanks to Oregon Sea Grant’s StreamWebs program. The statewide program provides educators with field equipment, data sheets, lesson plans and training so they can teach students how to collect data about the health of waterways. It also provides an online database where students can enter and analyze the information they gathered.
“What’s special about StreamWebs is it’s a way for teachers to extend students’ field experience into the classroom,” said the program’s coordinator, Renee O’Neill.
Between August 2014 and July 2015, more than 350 students participated in the program and more than 70 educators were trained on how to use the resources that StreamWebs provides, O’Neill said. During that same period, StreamWebs loaned scientific testing equipment 650 times to educators, she said.
The equipment, contained in plastic totes, can be checked out online and picked up from the Oregon Sea Grant (OSG) office in Corvallis or the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport. Each tote—called a kit—addresses specific learning objectives. There’s a kit with equipment to measure the temperature, pH, turbidity and dissolved oxygen of water. There’s another with measuring tapes, ropes and soil augers so kids can document the vegetation in a designated space and characterize the soil along riparian areas. Tubs of rubber boots and clipboards can even be checked out. Lesson plans and handouts for recording data are available on the StreamWebs website, as are two new videos produced by OSG that show how to use the kits for studying water quality and macroinvertebrates.
The kit the girls at Rock Creek are using is the one for collecting macroinvertebrates, such as caddisflies, mayflies, crayfish, snails and water striders. The girls are being instructed by Guillermo Giannico, a fish ecology and watershed specialist with OSG Extension and a researcher with Oregon State University’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. They bring their catch to a card table Giannico has propped among the streambank rocks, and use hand lenses and an identification sheet to name what they’ve caught. “I got a stonefly nymph,” one girl exclaims, pointing at the tiny animal’s distinctive tail appendages—and then: “I got another stonefly! I am the queen of stoneflies!”
Once back at a computer, students can upload their findings onto the StreamWebs website so that they and others—including the public—can analyze the health of various watersheds over time. On the website, an interactive map of the state pinpoints where data have been collected. For example, clicking on the pinpoint for D River shows that students at Taft High School in Lincoln City recorded an average pH of 5.9 on Nov. 18, 2014, and 6.76 on May 23, 2016. Site names are also listed alphabetically from Agate Beach to the Zigzag River. Since the program’s inception, 850 people have created accounts on the website, O’Neill said. Between August 2015 and July 2016, about 120 people contributed data, 503 data sheets were uploaded, and 41 new locations were entered, she said.
“The site makes it more like doing real- life science,” said Emmet Whittaker, a science teacher at Lebanon High School who uses StreamWebs in his classroom. “[Students] see how the data can be used over time [and] how they can be shared with other scientists.”
Excerpts from the Spring/Summer 2016 Confluence, an Oregon Sea Grant publication –
Editor’s note: Climate change is perhaps the toughest problem facing our world today. This week’s blog features excerpts from the most recent issue of Confluence, a publication produced by Oregon Sea Grant (OSG). OSG works on issues related to freshwater and marine waterways and climate change is dramatically impacting both.
Oregon Sea Grant has an interesting history and is an integral part of OSU’s community outreach and engagement model. Housed on the OSU campus, OSG is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and funds research conducted at OSU and other universities. Climate change, tsunami preparedness, and wave energy are three areas of research priority.
According to the OSG website, “congress created the NOAA Sea Grant program in 1968 in an effort to bring the kind of national attention and resources to ocean and coastal issues that the USDA’s Extension Service had brought to rural agricultural communities since the early 20th century. In 1971, Oregon was designated one of the nation’s first four Sea Grant states, along with Washington, Texas and Rhode Island. Today Sea Grant programs are found in every coastal state; and Oregon’s is still widely considered one of the very top programs.
“With resident Extension faculty stationed up and down the coast, a core of marine educators and aquarists at the (now Hatfield) Marine Science Center, and capable scientists, communicators and administrators on the OSU campus, Sea Grant has become an important part of OSU’s research and public engagement portfolio.”
Four new videos produced by Oregon Sea Grant (OSG) show how certain business practices, farming techniques, and riparian management strategies are better poised to tolerate droughts in Oregon. The videos, produced by OSG videographer Vanessa Ciccone in collaboration with John Stevenson, a climate specialist with OSG Extension at OSU, can be found on the OSG YouTube Channel along with other fascinating videos.
The short videos form a series called Documenting the Drought: Mitigating the Effects in Oregon. OSG created them in response to the state’s 2015 drought, said Stevenson. “We found that the people and places that did better during the drought were the ones where investment had been made in water conservation and restoration efforts over the past decade.”
The conditions that led up to the 2015 drought is described in one video. Another features Frank Burris, the county leader of the OSU Extension Service in Curry County and OSG’s watershed health specialist for the southern Oregon coast, describing riparian restoration projects along Pea and Gallagher Creeks. The projects were prompted by concern over the effects of rising stream temperatures and reduced stream flow on salmon, a mainstay of the region’s recreational fishing economy.
If you’ve skied in Ashland, one of the videos may be of particular interest to you. Mt. Ashland Ski Area adapted to sparse winter snowfall by relocating snow and was able to open for 38 days in 2014-15 versus none in the prior ski season. During the summer months, you’re likely to be able to enjoy ziplining, a bungee trampoline, disc golf and concerts, all of which will supplement declining ski-season income.
In another video, Bill Buhrig, a crops specialist with OSU Extension in Malheur County talks about planting faster maturing plants as a success strategy for farmers where a full season of water is no longer available. Strategies to conserve water through buried pipelines and gravity systems are described and extend the irrigation season by two to three weeks.
How do you talk with people about a subject matter that is emphatically avoided in polite conversations?
That is the question Oregon Sea Grant Extension’s new boating outreach coordinator, Jenny East, has been asking. She’s charged with informing recreational boaters about the location of facilities for properly disposing of their sewage along the Oregon coast and Columbia River and in the Portland-metro area in an effort to keep waterways clean.
The breadth of Extension work is, well, breathtaking. This new position takes Extension work in a new direction.
“My job is all about finding innovative ways to engage with Oregon’s recreational boaters. The key will be trying different avenues such as face-to-face interactions at events where boaters are, walking the docks, and spending time meeting with marina managers and private industries that provide supplies for boaters,” said East, who is based out of Oregon State University’s Extension office in Washington County.
“Through my conversations with boaters I will learn more about how they prefer to receive information. Engagement is a two-way street. It isn’t about me lecturing them, but more a conversation about their connections to the aquatic environment and being proactive about the health of that environment. I am also thinking about how I can get other boaters to be communicators and educators as well.”
As part of her job, she will work with the Oregon State Marine Board to post signs showing where recreational boaters can empty their portable toilets and holding tanks. East added that talking about the proper disposal of human waste will take some humor. She’s got a good start. Oregon Sea Grant has produced two light-hearted public service announcements about floating restrooms and dockside stations for emptying porta-potties.
Oregon Sea Grant serves the state, region and nation through an integrated program of research, outreach, and education that helps people understand, rationally use and conserve marine and coastal resources. The best available science is applied to timely and important ocean and coastal issues, and they engage with coastal stakeholders to help them reach informed decisions. Sea Grant supports scientific excellence and innovation, fosters new generations of marine scientists and encourages ocean science literacy among people of all ages.
Based at Oregon State University and working with scientists, scholars and communities statewide, Oregon is part of the national network of NOAA Sea Grant College Programs.