New publication discusses effective stakeholder engagement in marine planning

A new publication from Oregon Sea Grant, Knowledge, Capacity, and Needs for Effective Stakeholder Engagement in Marine Planning, examines the key findings from a study of marine spatial planning efforts on the west coast.

In response to the many existing and emerging demands on coastal and ocean resources, President Obama established by Executive Order the National Ocean Policy (NOP) in 2010, identifying marine spatial planning (MSP) as a mechanism to reduce conflicts and improve management. On the west coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was designated as a federal co-lead for implementation. NOAA’s Western Regional Collaboration Team (NOAA West), a cross-cutting line office team, and the west coast Sea Grant programs initiated assessment of NOAA’s knowledge, capacity, and needs related to MSP through focus groups and a survey.

This 39-page publication reveals the results of this study and makes recommendations for improvements in the MSP process. You can download a PDF of the publication free of charge here.

New fact sheet describes different types of wave-energy devices

Wave-Energy-Devices-coverToday about 87 percent of the world’s energy consumption relies on nonrenewable energy sources such as oil, natural gas, and coal. The burning of these fossil fuels releases pollutants into the atmosphere and can result in environmental damage. An abundant and promising source of renewable energy exists in the forms of wave, tidal, marine current, ocean thermal energy conversion, and salinity.

This two-page fact sheet, A Primer on Wave Energy: Wave-Energy Devices, describes nine different types of wave-energy devices currently under development or nearing completion.

You can download the publication for free here.

Register-Guard: Changing ocean chemistry threatens marine life

The Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery on the state’s north coast watched oyster larvae die en masse for three years in a row in the mid-2000s — depriving oyster farms along the entire West Coast of seed oysters.

Florence crabber Al Pazar saw baby octopuses, an inch or two long, climb up his crab lines to escape the sea waters in the 2005 season. When he pulled up his pots, the crab were dead.

Eugene fisherman Ryan Rogers, who drags in great piles of salmon on an Alaska purse seiner, has instead brought up nets full of jellyfish in recent years.

“Sometimes we’ll catch 4,000 or 5,000 pounds of jellyfish. They spray all around. We get stung,” he said. “It makes it difficult to bring your net in. You have to let it go and lose the salmon that are in your net.”

Scientists — including many at Oregon State University — are beginning to define the cause of these events. They call it ocean acidification and hypoxia.

Wind, currents and ocean chemistry conspire to create pools of corrosive waters that can be lethal to key commercial species in Northwest waters — and favorable to some nuisance species, such as jellyfish. …

The Eugene Register-Guard examines what OSU scientists – some of them working with Oregon Sea Grant funding – are learning about the causes and consequences of ocean acidification.

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Heceta Head registration open

Registration is open for this year’s Heceta Head Coastal Conference, Oct. 25 and 26 at the Florence Events Center.

With a theme of “Oregon’s Oceans: So Many Fish In the Sea!”, the conference features a keynote by Kerry Coughlin of the Marine Stewardship Council, panels exploring what “sustainability” means for fish and fishermen, and a poster session highlighting the research of graduate and undergraduate marine scientists.

Full program details and registration information can be found on our Website.

New publication offers insights from a NOAA-Sea Grant project

A new publication from Oregon Sea Grant, Climate Field Notes, distills the results of a multi-year, multi-state SARP-Report-coverproject funded by the NOAA Climate Program Office Sectoral Applications Research Program (SARP).

Oregon Sea Grant led this project, which used a risk-communication framework to help coastal communities respond to the effects of a changing climate. Climate Field Notes documents the results of projects in eight states, including Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Maine, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida.

The report includes discussion of social science methodologies, definitions and usefulness of resilience, the roles of leadership and boundary organizations, user-centered communication approaches, and lessons learned from practitioners in the field.

Primary authors of the report are Joe Cone, Pat Corcoran, Miriah Russo Kelly, and Kirsten Winters.

You can download Climate Field Notes here.


“Stone Soup” draws on Sea Grant expert for help on invasives strips

Stone Soup Comic

Click to enlarge.
(STONE SOUP © 2013 Jan Eliot. Used courtesy of the creator and Universal Uclick. All rights reserved.)

When Oregon cartoonist Jan Eliot, who draws the popular “Stone Soup” comic strip, wanted to feature a storyline about how animals common in one place can become invasive species in another, she turned to Oregon Sea Grant’s Sam Chan for advice.

The result, which runs newspapers nationwide starting tomorrow (Sept. 4), is an engaging – and scientifically accurate – story about a 9-year-old, a crawdad found on a camping trip, and an educational moment featuring a science teacher.

She contacted Chan, our watershed health and aquatic invasive species specialist, with questions about the species she wanted to feature (Procambarus clarkii, the red swamp crayfish), its invasive potential (highly invasive in areas without harsh, cold winters), and whether it was OK to call it a “crawdad” as opposed to “crayfish” (yes, the terms are regional but interchangeable).

Chan was happy to help, and calls the cartoon series “very timely for teachers, parents, students and pet owners. “It can be a revelation that releasing ‘pets’ is often not the kindest alternative.”

The Sea Grant specialist and his team are leading a nationwide study on a related topic: The spread of non-native species that are released from classrooms after being used for school science projects.

Eliot, who lives in Eugene but grew up tromping around Midwestern lakes and creeks, says she once considered studying marine biology at Oregon State University, but “chickened out and followed the easy path of Art and English.” Now, she says, she’s enjoying as Alix, the Stone Soup character featured in the new strips, grows into a budding biologist. “I can live the path I didn’t choose through her.”

It’s not the first time “Stone Soup” has delved into marine science. Her ongoing science teacher character, Erma, is modeled after former NOAA administrator and OSU zoologist Jane Lubchenco and Eliot’s friend Dr. Kathy Sullivan (now Lubchenco’s successor at the agency’s helm). The character is named after ERMA (Emergency Response Management Application), a web-based NOAA tool, available to the public, for managing information in oil spill crises.

Follow as the story unfolds over the next two weeks in your local newspaper, or at

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