Meet Kristen McAlpine, a 2024 Natural Resource Policy Fellow

Hi everyone, I am currently a Natural Resources Policy Fellow working with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department’s (OPRD) Ocean Shore team. I completed my master’s degree in Forest Ecosystems and Society at OSU in 2023. My thesis research was oriented around the human dimensions of Oregon’s marine reserves, which introduced me to some topics of marine resource management. In my fellowship, I am getting even more acquainted with the myriad scientific and policy activities on Oregon’s coast.

Oregon’s beaches, which are all public, fall under OPRD’s jurisdiction and are collectively administered as a state recreation area. The agency’s Ocean Shore team is considered a “central resource” for the agency. While there are many beach and park rangers and managers stationed locally along the entire coast, our team is small, more administrative in function, and focuses on projects, issues, and policies that largely impact the coast as a whole. One of the main functions of our team is to process permit applications for alterations along the coast, such as the construction or installation of accessways (stairways, ramps, etc.), shoreline protective structures (riprap revetments, seawalls, etc.), or other elements that would then have a permanent presence in the public right of way. Aspects of my role include organizing and geolocating these permitted structures, performing an audit for compliance of permissible activities, and analyzing data obtained from these two tasks. As time allows, I will also use these findings to create communication materials for OPRD partners.

A pipe extending onto the ocean shore presents a hazard and an eyesore to beachgoers.

Some of my favorite days of my fellowship so far have – surprise! – been those that I get to spend on the beach. So far, I’ve had the opportunity to attend the Navigating Coastal Hazards Workshop put on by Cascadia Coastlines and Peoples Hazards Research Hub (Cascadia CoPes Hub), go on a tour of the north coast, visit a snowy plover habitat management area (we spotted three down near the surf!), and tour marine reserves with partners from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, OPRD, and Oregon State Police. I’ve also made a few visits out to the central coast to kick off my auditing project. More on that next time!

On a tour of the north coast, a float from Japan was spotted carrying living specimens of the invasive barnacle Megabalanus rosa. This was promptly reported and sent to scientists tracking and researching such visitors!
A visit to the Snowy Plover habitat management area at Nehalem Bay State Park.

Meet Alyssa Purslow, a 2024 Natural Resource Policy Fellow

Hi all,

My name is Alyssa Purslow, and I am currently serving as a 2024 Natural Resource Policy Fellow, working as a Restoration Project Impact Analyst for Coastal Watersheds with the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (TEP). Located at the Port of Garibaldi, TEP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to conserving and restoring tidal wetlands. Our goals include building habitats, reducing flooding, reviving salmon and other native fish populations, supporting the restoration and growth of native plants, and providing education and public outreach to the local community.If you would like to learn more, please visit our website or social media pages listed below.

In Tillamook County, healthy estuaries are vital to the local economy and community. TEP is committed to improving watershed health through scientific methods and community involvement. Our mission emphasizes the importance of clean water in rivers, streams, and bays for current and future generations. As a grassroots, non-profit organization, we focus on estuarine restoration, monitoring, and education. Recognized nationally, we operate under a Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP), supported by partners, volunteers, and board members.

As the Oregon Sea Grant fellow, my role at TEP focuses on visiting and assessing post-implementation restoration, fish passage, and riparian area treatments in Tillamook County. I started with TEP remotely from the Bay Area in California, and for the past three months, I have been temporarily living on the Northern Oregon Coast to visit post-implementation sites. Of the 11 sites listed, I have visited 8, with the last 3 planned for the next two weeks. After completing these visits, I will return to the Bay Area and finish the rest of the work remotely.

I am currently visiting and documenting the success of these projects, which range from 5 to 20 years post-implementation. The sites span 5 watersheds: Tillamook, Trask, Nestucca, Kilchis, and Sand Lake-Frontal Pacific Ocean, 8 sub-watersheds: Middle Fork North Fork Trask River, Upper Tillamook River, Nestucca River, Beaver Creek, Farmer Creek-Nestucca River, Elk Creek-Nestucca River, Little South Fork Kilchis River, and Netarts Bay-Frontal Pacific Ocean, and 11 creeks: Cruiser Creek, Fawcett Creek, Killam Creek, Smith Creek, E. Beaver Creek, Wolfe Creek, Hawk Creek, Maps Creek, and Jackson Creek.

I look forward to posting my progress as I continue to work through the fellowship.

2024 Natural Resource Policy Fellow, Alyssa Purslow

Cheers!

Alyssa

Website & Social Media Links

Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (tbnep.org)

Instagram

Facebook

LinkedIn

Introducing Natural Resource Policy Fellow Maddie Foley

Hi everyone!

I’m Maddie Foley, a fellow in the Natural Resource and Policy Fellowship working with Oregon Sea Grant to expand educational programs centered around the commercial fishing industry. Graduating with a Master’s in Biological Oceanography with a focus on the movement ecology of gulls from Stony Brook University, I found myself drawn to a more policy – oriented career path. Subsequently, I made my way back to the West Coast.

I’m passionate about science communication, accessibility, and sustainability. I believe that one of the greatest ways someone can contribute to sustainability is through their purchasing choices as a consumer. By purchasing from local sources of seafood, you’re supporting an industry that is geared towards sustainability and the people who make plating a fish possible. Knowing where food comes from and understanding the effort that goes into providing it is something that gives me feeling of confidence in what I choose to eat and respect to the environment that provided it. I aim to carry that feeling into my work, more specifically the pilot programs I, Jamie Doyle, Amanda Gladics, and Angee Doerr will be premiering in Charleston, Port Orford, and Brookings. I’m very excited to pilot and lead some tours myself, and can’t wait to see how our pilot programs go.

Discover Oregon Seafood tours are aimed towards anyone who has an interest in learning more about their local seafood industry and the people who are a part of it. Shop at the Dock tours that run in Newport, Oregon during the summer months provided the framework for Discover Oregon Seafood’s tours. The goal is to educate both locals and tourists on where and how they can buy fish when it’s being sold off the docks, how the gear that catches their fish works, and how the fishery itself is managed. If we’re lucky, we’ll be able to chat with a local fishermen, and hear firsthand about the human dimension of commercial fishing! Shop at the Dock will be continuing in Newport and returning to Garibaldi this summer, along with our pilot programs. Dates for Discover Oregon Seafood tours and Shop at the Dock will be announced soon – so keep an eye out!

Fishing boats in Newport, OR.

Natural Resources in the Context of the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians

 Posted on behalf of Kayla Stevenson

Hello again from Seattle! My work with the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians (CTCLUSI) is steadily making progress. In early April, I drove down to Coos Bay to host a writing workshop with the Department of Culture and Natural Resources staff for my work on the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. I had prepared topics for us to discuss but left it open to address any issues or complexities that arose relevant to the framing of the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. The workshop allowed for in-person discussions and problem-solving and revealed new issues to consider, which I discuss below. 

Something that came up during the workshop was how the area of interest for the Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians spans across multiple geographies and encompasses diverse ecosystems, each with its own set of vulnerabilities. In the development of the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment, it became clear that I needed to consider the interconnectedness of environmental issues across ecosystems.

Salmon in the Pacific Northwest is an example of the complexity of natural resources that span multiple geographies. As an anadromous species, salmon traverse various ecosystems during their life cycle and therefore need to be included at multiple points in the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. This led to another question during the workshop: what is the best way to categorize and organize a vulnerability assessment? We looked at different examples from other northwest Tribes and realized that, for the unique context of CTCLUSI, the assessment needed to serve multiple purposes, including a vulnerability assessment of not only natural resources but also how CTCLUSI properties will be exposed to climate change impacts. That said, it became clear that the assessment needed to consider damage protection and resource conservation. How do we safeguard Tribal properties and economic assets while mitigating future vulnerabilities? This necessitated a nuanced approach, considering both immediate concerns and long-term sustainability goals. Related to long-term sustainability goals came the question of how to approach climate modeling in the report. During the workshop, we talked about intergenerational responsibility, specifically from the perspective of planning for the next seven generations. 

One of the main takeaways from the workshop was recognizing the importance of a holistic approach to climate change vulnerability and adaptation. This work requires comprehensive strategies that integrate traditional knowledge with scientific research, braiding knowledge to navigate environmental challenges. The workshop served as a crucial step in understanding the complexities of Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment in the context of CTCLUSI and a way to reflect on methodologies for designing climate change adaptation documents.

Introducing Isaac Olson

Posted on behalf of Isaac Olson

I recently completed my time as an undergraduate at the University of Washington, where I studied Oceanography and Environmental Studies. Throughout my college career, I have studied a variety of coastal anthropogenic stressors, including ocean acidification (OA), harmful algal blooms, and microplastics. Communication, environmental justice, and diversity, equity, and inclusion principles are central tenets of both my research and community work. Recently, I interned with NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program, helping create a variety of regionalized OA communication and education materials as a Hollings Scholar.

This summer, I will be interning with the Oregon Coastal & Ocean Information Network (OCOIN), a partnership between Portland State University, Oregon State University, Oregon’s Coastal and Marine Data Network, and Oregon Coastal Management Program. Specifically, I will work to enhance the Oregon coastal and ocean information-policy network through a variety of outreach and tech-support projects, including by contributing to OCOIN’s outreach materials, research platform, and website. There will be a focus on equitable data sharing and sovereignty, something particularly exciting to me as a proponent of increased diversity and justice in the geosciences.

Enjoying sunrise in Anchorage, Alaska

Introducing Rana Almassmoum

Posted on behalf of Rana Almassmoum

My name is Rana and I am a junior studying marine studies with a minor in natural resources at Oregon State University. I am from Saudi Arabia but moved to Oregon for school a few years ago. Having spent my whole life along the coast, the ocean has always held a special place in my heart. I have fond memories of exploring the tide pools, fishing, and gazing out at the endless ocean horizon. Eventually, those memories inspired me to come to OSU, hoping to learn more about coastal studies in a different region. Given the global threats facing our coasts, I decided to concentrate my studies on coastal management and policy to strike a balance between ecosystem protection and public access. I hope to play a vital role in protecting coastal areas and allow others to develop the same sense of wonder for our oceans that I discovered as a child.

This summer, I am excited to take on an internship with ICAN that is focused on coastal management and global collaborations. This experience will help strengthen my existing skills and knowledge while exposing me to new areas that can benefit my grad school application as well as my career path. With this internship, I hope to gain the necessary experience that will allow me to work directly with global ocean initiatives, supporting the implementation of management strategies that will drive significant positive change for our coasts. 

Best,

Rana Almassmoum

Introducing Samantha Dillard

Posted on behalf of Samantha Dillard

My name is Samantha Dillard and I am an incoming senior at Oregon State University. I am studying Marine Studies and minoring in Marine Conservation and Management. I have grown to love writing, researching coastal communities, working with the public, and learning about marine mammals. Many of my classes this year have been about efficient science communication and its application for public use. I want to work with policy creation and including varying stakeholders into the climate change conversation. I have always been passionate about ocean science and am excited to learn more about the people’s side of protecting these resources.

Working with OCOIN this summer, I hope to gain professional experience in the conservation field, and relevant work skills. I am hoping to strengthen my communication skills with a variety of professionals. In my free time, I enjoy tide pooling, reading, and going on hikes!

Please let me know if there is anything else you will need from me! I look forward to this summer and meeting the rest of the team.

Best,

Samantha Dillard

Introducing Ari Arellano

Posted on behalf of Ari Arellano

My journey into stem has been anything but linear. Born and raised in the Great Lakes State, it’s no wonder why I have always found solace being in or around water.  I knew from a young age that I wanted to work protecting our natural environment but I never imagined that it would be a possibility, that was, until I moved to Oregon.

Through pure hard work, dedication and determination I was able to land an internship with a local engineering firm, where I was introduced and mainly worked using spatial data and GIS. I currently work as a communications coordinator for a network of STEM hubs within Oregon, which work together to create equitable opportunities for students and educators to engage in STEM across the state.

I am currently a student at Portland Community College and plan on continuing my education at Oregon State University . My greatest academic interests are in water quality, restoration and sustainability.  I acknowledge that there are many different ways into the STEM world, and this opportunity is perfect to figure out exactly where I fit into this realm.  I am beyond excited to grow my GIS and communications skills which will help build a strong foundation for my STEM career. My dream is to be able to study ecological engineering and take what I learn back to my hometown of Flint, Michigan.

Work hard, play hard. When I am not in class or at work, I take advantage of being on the west coast by exploring and experiencing all it has to offer. My most recent escapade involves the start of my scuba diving certification!

Introducing Destiny Coleman

Posted on behalf of Destiny Coleman

Here I am pictured in the Florida A&M University, School of the Environment laboratories with my pet fish and a few books I am currently reading. 

I am Destiny Coleman, a graduating senior studying Environmental Science at Florida A&M University. I plan to pursue a career in research and conservation of marine life and environments, specifically targeting marine mammals. Marine biology has been my passion since I was a child, and science and nature have worked their way into major portions of my life. I have a pet crested gecko (Harlequinn) and 7 “plant babies” that I enjoy incorporating into my daily life. Although I enjoy blurring the line between my career interests and personal life, I do value the friendships I have built throughout my college career and a large portion of my free time is dedicated to maintaining those relationships. I enjoy being the “planner” friend who always has creative ideas to bring diverse individuals together for something that can be mutually enjoyed. In my alone time, I have reclaimed my love for reading, scrapbooking, and I often dive and snorkel with friends from school. This summer, I am excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the SEACOR project and receive hands-on experience in coastal biology before I continue my career as an early scientist.

Miss Destiny Coleman

4th year Environmental Science

Florida A&M University 

Introducing Linnea Ingrid Gebauer

Posted on Behalf of Linnea

My name is Linnea Gebauer, and I’m a rising junior at Occidental College in Los Angeles, majoring in Biology with a minor in Religious Studies. I grew up in Southern Oregon, and have always loved taking trips to the Oregon Coast! Marine biology has always been an interest of mine, and I’m especially interested in the impact of human activity on the ecology and biodiversity of marine habitats. This past school year I’ve also had the opportunity to give science presentations at local elementary schools, and I’ve really enjoyed getting more involved in science communication and outreach! I’m passionate about making science accessible and engaging for all audiences. I’m also a student researcher in Occidental’s Computational Biology lab, where we focus on computational methods in urban wildlife ecology and conservation biology. I’m excited to explore the intersection of scientific research, outreach, and education this summer working with the ODFW Water Program!

This is me holding a boa constrictor in my Zoology lab!

Additionally, I haven’t heard anything yet from my host about background checks, so I’m assuming that isn’t needed for my position. I think that’s everything, but let me know if I can provide any other information!

Best,

Linnea