Update on Current Research and Reflections on the 2020 Census

While I had hoped that this summer would be full of trips to sunny, salty, sea lion filled Newport to mentor ODFW’s Summer Scholars, unfortunately everyone is still working remotely. Though I have heard from my Newport-based coworkers that this pandemic is not stopping the hordes of tourists from flocking to the coast for celebrations such as the recent 4th of July.

One of the main projects that I’ve been working on this summer while stuck in Bend (there are worse places to be stuck!) is understanding if marine reserves have influenced socioeconomic conditions in communities located near them. To investigate this, I first had to gather information on the socioeconomic conditions of coastal communities over time. I used the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 5-year estimates from 2010 to 2018. While accessing data prior to 2010 would be ideal, the first 5-year estimate summary tables were only released in 2010, so we work with what we got.

After collecting all of these data, the exploratory analyses began, as did the true test of what I can remember from those statistics courses long ago and how far my R coding skills can take me. These exploratory analyses include tests and visualizations such as correlation plots, non-metric multidimensional scaling plots, bubble plots, vector analyses, principal component analyses, PERMANOVAs, the list goes on. When working with complicated multivariate data, I have learned that exploration is key to understanding what is really shaping your data.

I have also been trying to figure out what my control and treatment communities should be. With this first approach, I am considering treatment communities as those that are located <15km from a marine reserve. Control communities are therefore all coastal communities located >15km from a marine reserve. Since the marine reserves were phased in over time, I have three separate treatment groups. The 2012 group includes communities located near Redfish Rocks Marine Reserve and Otter Rock Marine Reserve, the 2014 group near Cape Perpetua Marine Reserve and Cascade Head Marine Reserve, and the 2016 group near Cape Falcon Marine Reserve. While this approach is a good first step, I will likely need to consider if other groupings or controls would be more appropriate. One method I am currently researching is creating a synthetic control by weighting non-treatment communities based on socioeconomic similarities to treatment communities prior to marine reserve implementation. But I won’t get too into the weeds with that statistical discussion here for everyone’s sake!

As I’ve been working with these census data, I’ve been thinking about the unfortunate timing of the decennial census this year. The Census Bureau conducts a survey every ten years with the goal to obtain a comprehensive snapshot of households in the United States. Unfortunately, the census this year coincided with a massive pandemic leading to significant economic loss and unemployment and the consequences that follow that loss. When future researchers use the decennial census to look at change over time, they are going to see data from 2020 that is not representative of the previous ten years, which will likely impact their analyses. I’m assuming that this data issue will lead to many footnotes in future papers. Luckily I will only be using data through 2019 (once it is made available) since the 2020 data will not be made available until after the marine reserve synthesis report is due.

Planning an Annual Webinar with OCOIN

I am one of the three selected interns to work for the Oregon Coastal Ocean Information Network (OCOIN) this summer. I am very excited to get some experience managing large project and its moving parts. OCOIN hosts an annual meeting to bring together partner agenicies, researchers and decision makers. My main tasks this summer will be to assist the OCOIN planning committee in completing and managing tasks related to planning an online conference.

I hope to be a very vital team player this summer. Planning the annual meeting takes a considerable amount of time and collaboration and I hope to help by taking on some of the tasks that committee members would usually have completed.

I think providing the most successful annual meeting possible is one of the best ways to achieve OCOIN’s and the Oregon Sea Grant’s vision and mission statements. OCOIN was created to bring scientists, decision makers, and partners together for the objective of effective coastal management and conservation which compliments the goals of the Oregon Sea Grant very nicely!

Oregon marine reserves evaluation – what about the people?

These past three months I have been serving as the Natural Resource Policy Fellow (NRPF) with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (ODFW) Marine Reserve Program. My position is focused on understanding the effects marine reserves may be having on coastal communities and visitors.

First, a little background on the marine reserves. Oregon’s five marine reserves were phased in from 2012 to 2016 and they currently make up 9% of the territorial sea. The territorial sea just means Oregon’s state waters, which are less than three nautical miles from the shore. There are no extractive activities or development allowed in the marine reserves. However, each marine reserve has adjacent Marine Protected Areas where some extractive activities are allowed. These marine reserves can be thought of as being in a trial phase. The Marine Reserves Program, including the management, scientific monitoring, outreach, community engagement, compliance, enforcement, and funding for the marine reserves, is up for evaluation beginning in the year 2022. The Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) will choose an Oregon public university to prepare a report on the Marine Reserves Program for the Oregon Legislative Assembly.

One of the primary marine reserve goals was to “avoid significant adverse social and economic impacts on ocean users and coastal communities”. This goal was set in 2008 in the Oregon Marine Reserve Policy Recommendations document developed by the Oregon Ocean Policy Advisory Council (OPAC). This is where my position as an NRPF comes in. To determine if there have been any marine reserve impacts, we must compare socioeconomic data prior to marine reserve implementation and after marine reserve implementation. There are many different approaches we are using to achieve this goal both in house and with academic and professional collaborators. For example, we are comparing changes in socioeconomic indicators (e.g. per capita income) in communities near and far the reserves using census data. We are also looking at the potential economic loss to fishers with benthic species mapping, fish ticket data, and logbooks. We are also assessing whether there are any changes to visitor use at the shoreline adjacent to marine reserves with visitor surveys and observation counts. These are just a few of the many examples I could provide.

During this brief time that I have been a NRPF, I have already learned a great deal. I was even tasked with writing a literature review on stakeholder engagement and creating literature-based definitions for the terms stakeholder engagement (in general), informal stakeholder engagement, formal stakeholder engagement, stakeholder, and outreach. This literature review will be used to help evaluate the communications side of the Marine Reserves Program. I am looking forward to continuing to grow in this position while contributing to a project that I consider an important tool for natural resource management. Now, I will leave you with a picture of my dog (Moose – she’s from Alaska, hence the name) enjoying Newport’s South Beach.

Moose the golden retriever at South Beach, Newport

Video Time and Final Symposium

Early August I had to start working on my film that would be put on the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve YouTube channel. I had 2 video ideas that I wanted to to make so I spent some time with Shon Schooler documenting the SSNERR Green Grab and Ian Rogers eDNA project. When documenting the Green Crab project I filmed the team setting traps, collect traps, and marking green crab data entries. I also conducted 2 interviews Shon Schooler and Green crab expert Sylvia B. Yamada who wrote the book “Global Invader: The European Green Crab”. It was truly a fun experience! Later on I shot eDNA project with Ian Rodger collecting samples, discussing protocols, and doing an interview. Both of these topics were really interesting to shadow and film really giving me an true view of the SSNERR projects here.

Ian Rodgers

Fast forward on August 16, 2019 we had our final symposium where each fellow discussed what and how project was for this entire summer. It was really amazing to see all the hard work that each fellow did over the summer and how happy they seem to have learned from their mentors. It is a very bittersweet ending to this fellowship! I hope everyone had a wonderful time and hopefully will be able to see each other in the future… an OSG Alumni Meetup *cough-cough*

Mid-Summer Check In #tacos

Over this last week we had our Mid-Summer check-in! On the first day all the Oregon Sea Grant (OSG) Scholars gather to the Beverly Beach Yurt in Newport to have our picnic. It was really great catching up with everyone since we hadn’t seen each other together over the last six weeks.

Our next day we had our professional development workshop where we learned about the different dynamics of “hard power” at work and how to understand/develop “soft power” during our program and in the future!  And later on that day the OSG scholars and I went to one of the beaches around Newport and had a campfire and watch the sun go down.

Then finally we spent 3 days camping at the Rujada Campground in Dorena, Oregon where we had many burgers, Reese-Oreos Smores, and great laughs! This Mid-Summer check-in was simply amazing!

PS

Whoever many the sour pickles at the OSG Picnic is 10/10 and can you please give send me the recipe!

King Tides Washing Around My Brain

Hello and welcome back!

King Tides Along the Coast

The past few weeks have been busy busy busy. For the King Tides Project, I have been making a web display to celebrate the 10th season of the Oregon King Tides Photo Initiative! The purpose of the display is to highlight the successes of the project and to educate about climate change and sea level rise on the Oregon coast. Preparing this display has taken hours of planning the order and content of the information, brainstorming meetings with other members of the Oregon Coastal Management Program, and sorting through many photos on our Flickr page!

Here is a photo of me with a sticky note map of all of the slides for the presentation!

Another large part of what I have been working on is getting a physical display ready! Hopefully, it will be travelling around in three different venues on the northern, central, and southern Oregon coast (exact locations and dates hopefully in the next post)! In addition to the traveling display, I have been coordinating with the manager of Hatfield Marine Science Center’s Visitors Center to organize a semi-permanent display that will be held there after the king tides season this upcoming winter!

If you want to keep up with what’s been happening with this project, feel free to follow our Instagram, Flickr, and Facebook at the handle of @orkingtide and check out our website: http://oregonkingtides.net!

Okay, moving on from the work talk!

Camping and TACOS!!

Last week, we had our Sea Grant Summer Scholars midsummer check-in! It was really cool seeing all of the projects the other scholars are working on!

During this past weekend, we went on a camping trip as well! Camping in the Umpqua National Forest was beautiful, and especially so for my first time camping in Oregon! We experimented with ingredients in S’mores and I learned that peanut butter cups and graham crackers are some of the best inventions haha. We also had THE BEST TACOS OF MY LIFE at a place called Tacovore!! All in all, super fun trip.

Until next time, sea ya!!

South Slough Art Show

On July 6, 2019 the South Slough National Estuary Interpretive Center hosted the “Affatati Art Show” with local artist Vicki Affatati. Vicki Affatati creates murals, oil-based/water-based painting, and public art installations around Bandon, Oregon. In the center I view paintings that were inspired by some of the native birds in areas like owls, herons, and egrets. Visitors, local photographers, and I were truly captivate by the great work that was surrounding us!

Later on, my mentor Jamie Belanger gave a presentation in the Art Show showing why the South Slough Reserve is amazing, so hopefully, Vicki will get some inspiration for her next piece.

Visitors viewing some of Affatati’s work
Vicki Affatati (left) If you are interested in her work please visit http://www.vickiaffatati.com/

The inside scoop: Newport, Oregon

Newport, OR has been my home for four weeks now. With so many fun activities to do, I have tried not to waste a single day. During my adventures, I discovered some of the gems of Newport. Any future students staying at the Hatfield Marine Science Center should take a peek at this list if they find themselves bored in Newport.

First and foremost, if you like escape rooms, I HIGHLY recommend the Newport Escape Room at the Aquarium mall. You would not initially not think much of the place based on the exterior, but the rooms are well thought out. I had a ton of fun doing this with my family one afternoon.

If you enjoy beach bonfires, the beach next to the Devil’s Punch Bowl is ideal. There is a nice wind buffering rock wall. People watching can also be fun here, as it is a popular surfing spot. (Insider tip: You can buy wood from homeowners along HWY 101 for less money than you can at the grocery stores. I got a whole wheelbarrow full for only $20!)

Panini Bakery, in the Nye beach district, is the cutest bakery/coffee shop around. I get fresh sourdough bread from there weekly! They are even accommodating to plastic packaging avoiders like me. Just bring your own clean tea towel and reusable produce bag.

The Chelsea Rose seafood market sells the freshest and cheapest crab around, at least that I’ve seen. They were selling live crabs for only $9 a pound, when the South Beach seafood market was asking $15 a pound for non-live crabs. Their prices and availabilities change, but they keep their Facebook page up to date.

If you are itching to get more than your feet wet, and the ocean is too cold for you, head to Devils Lake near Lincoln City. The water is often a few degrees warmer than the air when the sun is out. There are several public beaches along the lake to choose from. You can also rent SUP, kayaks and boats from Blue Heron Landing Rentals along this beach. The company has waterfront property next to the lake, so you can get directly into the water. Check the wind before you go however! It can be a real workout fighting 15 mph gusts on a SUP (found that out the hard way).

A nice 3.5-mile day hike can be found an hour away from Newport near Otis, OR. The hike to Drift Creek Falls is super pretty and shaded. At the end of the trail, you cross a suspension bridge to get down to the bottom of the falls. There is a parking fee, so don’t forget to bring a little bit of cash with you.

While this list is not by any means comprehensive, it is a good place to start if you are looking for something to do in Newport.

My first few weeks in Newport

Hello! My name is Suhn Brown and I am a 2019 Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholar! I have just finished my fourth week of the 10 weeks that I will be here on the Oregon coast working with the Oregon Coastal Management Program.

I have been staying in Newport at the Hatfield Marine Science Center dorms! I have five roommates here in one of the  , which has been a challenge to get used to with the limited space. We all get along great so far and have a lot of fun hanging out playing video games or just noodling around playing guitar together.

Living in Newport has been such a blast!! I love walking around and exploring the town. It’s so cool and different from anywhere I have ever been. The people are so nice, and the temperate weather is incredible. Being so close to the ocean is definitely one of the bigger pluses, as well! I haven’t had the chance to live on a coast before, and I’m absolutely in love with it. I have spent many hours at the beach and would never leave if it were up to me! There are so many cool things to do here, but one of my favorites so far was getting a library card!

With the Oregon Coastal Management Program, I am helping my mentor, Meg Reed, with the Oregon King Tides Photo Initiative! The OR king tides project is a citizen science project where we have any number of volunteers take photos of the king tides—ultra-high high tides in the winter—and submit them to us with the location, time, orientation, and date that the photo was taken, so we can use GIS to map photos through all the past 9 seasons of the project. The main goal of the project is to record this data so that we can achieve a better understanding of climate change on the Oregon coast. Because this is the 10th season, I am creating a visual display that will be celebrating and highlighting the successes of the past 9 seasons and educating Oregonians on the effects of climate change on the Oregon coast via the king tides project. That’s been the main focus of the project, but I’ve also undertaken increasing our social media outreach. I think that the best way that we can increase the both the measure and quality of our data is by showcasing some of the more useful pictures that we’ve received and by letting more people know who we are and what we’re doing.

It’s been so incredible and heart-warming working under the umbrella of Oregon’s Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD). Everyone there is so passionate about what they do and about preserving the land of Oregon. It has probably been the most refreshing part about being a part of this internship. I am so thankful for this opportunity and the people I have met so far along the way.

Until next time, sea ya!

Goodbye Oregon!

Living in Oregon was a whole new two-month life. I’ve thought for a while now about leaving for somewhere where I’d know no one and nowhere to challenge myself and call it an adventure. This wasn’t a difficult challenge. This isn’t because I’m comfortable everywhere I go and am an adaptation queen, but that I am extremely lucky. I am lucky that I loved my position working with ODFW. I am lucky the people I got to work with became mentors professionally and friends personally. I am lucky to have lived in a beautiful and quaint coastal town. I am lucky that my dorm hallmates were genuine, fun, and loved talking about and collecting plants. I am lucky that every single 2018 Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholar is a wonderful person to know, and the lovely ladies who ran this program did a heck of a job. For all these things I feel lucky for, I am thankful.

As I write this I am sitting in a study room at my college, Virginia Tech. I’ve jumped right back into my normal life, it’s been a hectic transition. As I placed my few Oregon keepsakes on my shelf last night I had a lot of fun telling my college roommates about them. I have a small stuffed bear dressed as a park ranger I bought during our midsummer camping mishap that left us to eat at a local restaurant that had a cute gift store. I have posters of bay clam and crabs I used to refer to every time I measured samples, now I know more than what the posters say. I bought a piece of cement imprinted with a leaf from a day trip down to Bandon I showed them. I gave my roommate an art print of a caribou I found at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. My shelf holds souvenirs of my summer memories.

I had a lot of firsts this summer, I’ll try to list all of them but know after I post this blog I’ll think of even more.

  1. Tried an Oyster that I didn’t like.
  2. Tried a tamale that I did like.
  3. Drove a boat.
  4. Went camping (in a tent, so real camping.)
  5. Went to Oregon!
  6. Went to California!
  7. Saw the Redwoods.
  8. White water rafting.
  9. White water kayaking.
  10. Went into a cave (with a guide and didn’t touch anything of course.)
  11. Dug for clams.
  12. Ate new berries: Huckleberry, Marionberry, Salmonberry, Salal Berry.
  13. Held a live shrimp.
  14. Stayed in a hotel room by myself.
  15. Witnessed smoke from forest fires.
  16. Saw Harbor Seals in the wild.
  17. Saw Bald Eagles in the wild.
  18. Saw a porcupine in the wild.
  19. Saw whales in the wild.
  20. Entered the Pacific Ocean.

I will miss my wild and wonderful Oregon coast adventure with the people who made it so hard to leave.

Bob Mapes, Mo Bancroft, and I are ready to dig a detailed assessment method (DAM) sight to search for clams, crabs, and shrimp.

The 2018 Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholars! Pictured are also Sarah Kolesar and Anne Hayden-Lesmeister, the Research and Scholars Program Leader and Assistant.

Liz Perotti, Bob Mapes, Tammy Chapman, and I on board “Saxidomus,” one of ODFW’s boats.