Winds of Change

Greetings SG Blog readers,

Although Oregon’s marine spatial planning process continues to unfold, the State is undoubtedly getting closer to developing a finalized, spatially explicit comprehensive plan for Oregon’s territorial sea.  In its completed form, the plan will document how the State intends to protect important ecological areas, fishing grounds, beneficial uses such as recreation, and identify some preliminary areas for ocean renewable energy development within nearshore waters.

Over the last several months I’ve provided assistance to both DLCD and ODFW in support of this planning effort.  In February, I attended seven TSPWG-sponsored public work sessions in Portland, Eugene, Warrenton, Cannon Beach, Waldport, and Reedsport.  I assisted DLCD by developing promotional materials and recording public comment during the meetings.  As for ODFW, the major pressing event has been the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee‘s peer review of the Nearshore Ecological Data Atlas.  I developed two specific documents for the review: a list of data gaps related to territorial sea planning, and a list of data that was considered by ODFW, but not used in the analysis of nearshore ecological resources.  In the name of data management, I’ve also been working with ODFW staff to develop a relational database, using Access, to organize the vast amount of STUFF (spatial data, literature, scientific findings, etc.) that we’ve accumulated through this planning process.

….I don’t want to bore you too much…but that’s a quick summary of what’s been going on in my fellowship world….

And now I’d like to reflect on the title of this post – “Winds of Change.”  For Oregon, this is definitely the dawn of a new era in terms of ocean planning and management, and for the addition of new human uses within the marine environment.  In one way, the title is a nod in that direction.  However, it also refers to a huge change in my life.  Several weeks ago, I received an unexpected surprise – I was offered a full-time, permanent position with NOAA’s Pacific Services Center (PSC).  For many reasons, the offer was something that I just couldn’t pass up!   In my new position as a GIS analyst, I will focus on developing GIS-based tools to support coastal and marine planning in the Pacific region, and provide general technical assistance to PSC partners in Guam, American Samoa, and Northern Marinas Islands.

As the winds of change blow, my time as a Sea Grant fellow is quickly coming to an end. In the near future, I will be leaving the quaint coastal town of Newport, Oregon and relocating to the tourist mecca of Hawaii.  It will be quite the change!  I will miss the Oregon coast, surfing South Beach, the friendly Oregon sharks, porcini mushrooms,  my coworkers, and new friends….but of course, I also look forward to a new and exciting opportunity.  On a final note, I want to say thank you! to both Sea Grant and ODFW for making my fellowship experience priceless!  It’s been a complete joy.  I will definitely stay in touch, and by all means….if anyone comes tromping through Hawaii, please do not hesitate to look me up!

Cheers (soon to be ALOHA),



Territorial Sea Planning in Oregon: report from the field

Hello OSG Community,

This is Ben Reder, one of the Natural Resource Policy Fellows, reporting to you from Newport, Oregon.  To give you a refresher – I am working with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (ODFW) Marine Resources Program (MRP).  As a fellow, I am assisting with the current Territorial Sea Plan (TSP) amendment process (aka Oregon’s marine spatial planning effort).  This process will eventually lead to the identification of potential areas for renewable energy development within state waters.

When I joined MRP this past October, the data collection effort for the spatial planning process was well underway.  What has now been coined the “Nearshore Ecological Data Atlas” (NEDA), is the product of that effort.  NEDA consists of data layers that depict oceanographic conditions, important ecological habitats, and information about fish, seabird, and marine mammal distribution.  NEDA is now available for public viewing on Oregon MarineMap.  As for my fellowship duties, I’ve been assisting in the coordination and review process of metadata for the NEDA geospatial layers.  The descriptive information from the metadata was used as abstract information on Oregon MarineMap (OMM).  Essentially, users can now click on any given data layer in OMM and access information about when the data was collected, who collected it, and how the data was collected.

MRP is responsible for identifying ecologically significant areas within the territorial sea.  DLCD has been responsible for mapping existing human uses, and Ecotrust developed the fishing grounds maps.  MRP utilized a software program, Marxan, to help identify the ecological hotspots.  Marxan was used to summarize the vast amount of ecological spatial information.  For MRP, Marxan provided decision support by identifying areas where many species occur in relatively high abundance.

MRP has wrapped up the effort to produce the “ecological hotspots” map, and DLCD and Ecotrust have also completed their spatial analyses.  We now have a series of maps that delineate hotspots for each of the three main Goal 19 resources.  This information is now being reviewed by the Territorial Sea Plan Working Group (TSPWG), a sub-group of the Ocean Policy Advisory Council.  In addition, the methodology used to identify the ecological significant areas is being reviewed by the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC).  The TSPWG has begun a series of public meetings to touch base with interested citizens regarding the current status of the TSP amendment process, present resource maps and planning options, and receive feedback on how best to proceed with this planning exercise.  These public meetings will occur in various locations along the Oregon coast through March 6, 2012.  Visit the Oregon Ocean Info website to see the schedule.

That is what I’ve been up to.  I will definitely keep you posted on exciting highlights and events related to marine spatial planning in Oregon. Till next time…

Cheers to all,



Hello from Newport, OR….

Hello OSG Community,

I wanted to introduce myself and give you a brief summary of what I’ll be up to.

So…hello and nice to meet you!  I am one of the two new Natural Resource Policy Fellows.  I joined the ranks in October and  I am now working with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (ODFW) Marine Resource Program (MRP) in Newport, Oregon.

Generally speaking, over the next year I will provide support for the current statewide marine spatial planning effort.  More specifically, I will assist with the development of the “Nearshore Ecological Data Atlas” (NEDA), a GIS-based resource that will be displayed on Oregon MarineMap. NEDA will feature a collection of ecological data sets (biological, oceanographic, habitat, etc.) and will be an important resource for current and future planning and management efforts.  I will also help with public outreach efforts and serve as MRP’s primary coordinator between NEDA and Oregon MarineMap project partners.

That is a general overview of what I will be up to.  But, if I’ve learned anything over the last month or so….everyday is a new day, and everyday brings something different and exciting.  My fellowship is just beginning to pick up steam and I look forward to keeping you abreast of exciting highlights and accomplishments over the next year!

Cheers to all,