Tsunami Preparedness Week – Are You Prepared?

Pat Corcoran visits Japan to see aftermath of tsunami, 2012It’s Tsunami Preparedness Week, and Pat Corcoran wants to make sure people who live on -and visit – the seismically active coast know what to do when the big wave hits.

Corcoran, Oregon Sea Grant’s coastal hazards specialist, is featured this week on the NOAA Sea Grant home page, and says the single most important thing to know about tsunamis is that they can happen unexpectedly. “Whenever visiting the ocean shore, be prepared to move to high ground if you experience an earthquake,” says Corcoran. “Also important to know, is the earthquake and tsunami experience is different depending on where you are in the world. In the Pacific Northwest of the USA, our natural warning for a big tsunami is a big earthquake.” Elsewhere in the world, people may not even feel the ground shake.

Corcoran has spent more than a decade educating and working with coastal residents and communities to help them prepare for coastal hazards, from storms to the inevitability that a large earthquake – likely with an accompanying tsunami – will strike the region in the not-too-distant future. The challenge, he says, is getting people to understand that they need to prepare now for an event that has never happened in their lifetimes, or perhaps those of their parents or grandparents.

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Fellowship opportunities in the new year

Check out several new fellowship opportunities, including the newly announced 2015 Knauss Fellowship:  http://seagrant.oregonstate.edu/education/fellowships

Current opportunities

Want to find out more what it’s like to be an Oregon Sea Grant Scholar? 

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.


Deadline set for 2013 Knauss marine policy fellowship

The National Sea Grant Program has set Feb. 17, 2012 as the deadline for applying to the prestigious John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowships, designed to give graduate students a year’s experience working on ocean and coastal policy issues in the nation’s capital.

The program,  sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Sea Grant College Program (NSGO), matches highly qualified graduate students with hosts in the legislative and executive branches of government in the Washington, D.C. area, for a one year paid fellowship.

Applications must be made through state Sea Grant programs. Oregon Sea Grant, based at room 322 in Oregon State University’s Kerr Administration Building, will accept applications through 5 pm Pacific time on Feb. 17. Full information can be found on the National Sea Grant Website.

The fellowship, named in honor of former NOAA administrator John A. Knauss – one of the founders of the Sea Grant program – was established in 1979 to provide a unique educational experience to students who have an interest in ocean, coastal and Great Lakes resources and in the national policy decisions affecting those resources.

Former Knauss fellows from Oregon have gone on to successful careers in federal and state government, fisheries management and marine science.

To learn more about how the Knauss Fellowship program shapes participants’ lives and careers, watch this video from Alaska Sea Grant:


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.)

OSG beach publication solves a Great Lakes Mystery

Beach Ball illustrationWhen a Duluth man walked into the Minnesota Sea Grant office recently seeking help identifying a couple of weird-looking balls of of stuff he’d found on the shore of  Lake Superior,  science writer Sharon Moen found the answer from a sister program in Oregon.

An Internet search led her straight to Oregon Sea Grant and its free publication, “Flotsam, Jetsam, and Wrack.”

The balls found by Glenn Maxham,  about 2½ inches in diameter and made of grasses, twigs, a bird feather and degraded polymer mesh,  match a similar phenomenon found on the Oregon coast, where locals (and some tourist shops) have dubbed them “whale burps.”

They have nothing to do with whales; rather, it’s the action of waves and surf that gather loose natural (and unnatural) debris and roll it over the sand until it compacts into a ball. The preferred name is “beach balls” or “surf balls,” according to retired OSG marine educator Vicki Osis, who helped develop the publication. Similar phenomena have been reported in Egypt, Australia, and on the shores of California’s Little Borax Lake.

“Flotsam, Jetsam, and Wrack” is among some 150 publications available free for the downloading from Oregon Sea Grant at Oregon State University. Topics range from enjoying the beaches to building your own water-conserving rain garden, salmon restoration,wave energy, tsunami preparedness and safe seafood preparation. Most are available in both printable .pdf format and accessible plain-text versions.

The Oregon and Minnesota Sea Grant programs are among 30 Sea Grant college programs across the nation, organized under NOAA’s National Sea Grant program.  Affiliated with major universities in the nation’s coastal and Great Lakes states, the Sea Grant programs conduct marine research, education and public outreach that  foster science-based  use and conservation of the nation’s aquatic resources.